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February 18 2024

Part 4 (& final post!) from Polyface Farm

Food at Polyface. It’s everything.

Part 4

Food at Polyface.

It’s everything.

It’s why the farm exists.

To produce food.

For microbes.

For livestock.

For humans.

Nutritious, whole food.

Every evening Teresa Salatin, Joel’s “much better half” (Joel’s words) hosts dinner.

An hour before 6pm, deliciousness begins wafting across the farm yard. I’m currently spreading wood shavings for the hens and am collected by Kade who was making sure I was ok.

The kitchen is cosily spotless. At 6pm on the dot, we gather at the adjacent dining table. First to give thanks for the day, the people, the weather, just about anything that has made the day great.

It’s not just some precursary “for what we are about to receive”, it’s heartfelt. Thoughtful. Relative.

Makes me think of the more woke term of “gratefulness”. To be grateful.

To name it and say it out loud. We’ve lost the ability to connect with all the things we are grateful for. It’s no longer part of our fabric, but the act of saying thanks is nourishing itself. Especially something so necessary and obvious as food.

Food is laid out buffet style on the bench.

All of it grown on the farm or available to buy in the farm shop.

It’s delicious. Teresa is an incredible cook. The food wholesome, as you would expect.

My take home favourite? Cheeseburger Pie. An extraordinary taste bomb, just as it sounds.

Accompaniments include summer preserved vegetables, fresh vegetables, fermented vegetables, canned fruit.

Varied textures, flavours. Some crunchy and tart. Others soft and sweet. Diversity isn’t just for the species of animals and plants, it’s for the plate too.

It’s all washed down with ice cold water, straight from the tap outside.

Everyone eats heartily. They work hard all day. Bodies are lean.

Last night Joel’s 100 year old mother sat down to dinner with us. If that isn’t an advertisement for a healthy lifestyle, I don’t know what is!

Dignified and beautiful, she gave me a little wink as I left the table that night.

It’s hard to compete with the food, but the conversation comes close. There is so much to be said for strengthening bonds and community at a shared table.

During the summer all 25 staff, stewards and apprentices gather together to eat dinner. I can’t even begin to wonder how interesting those conversations must be.

There is a saying “Give a man a fish, feed a man for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed a man for a lifetime.”

Joel is empowering. He doesn’t just “hand out fish” but he is a master at “showing how to fish”.

He throws those fishing rods out like candy.

He’s all for empowering the people, teaching the skills, making do with what you have. Just give it a go.

It’s a bit like healthy soils encouraging biodiversity all around them.

Having the right environment - the right soil allows for so much abundance.

A bit like ourselves really.

Kylie x


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