I took a trip to see Lima Family Farms, and it was a refreshing reminder that everything is going to be just fine. There are “organic” labels on everything these days, but short of brushing the dirt off of your groceries, how can you know where your food actually comes from? My trip to Hillsborough, New Jersey to visit an old friend shaped my perspective on sourcing food.
Josh Schreck and his lovely companion Angela Lin live in the middle of a farm between an enormous turkey, and a field full of hogs. They live in a small trailer with a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. They live low-impact, efficient lives, and eat better than you could ever imagine. The tender country sausages that we crisped over the fire that first night were sizzling proof that a little hard work goes a long way. Especially when it comes to food.
Eating fire-crisped local sausages with the crew of Lima Family Farms. Photo by Angela Lin.
Farm hand Josh Schreck at Lima Family Farms. Photo by Derek Vaughan Brown.
Farm hand Angela Lin watering the young turkeys at Lima Family Farms. Photo by Derek Vaughan Brown
Josh studied health science at Towson University. Angela is a geneticist, though not actively working for the farm in that regard. In college, Josh was obsessed with health and fitness -- I think there may have been an entire year where he ate nothing but almonds. They are farming because they care about the food they put into their bodies. Their love for food doesn't start at what, though. It starts at where and how.
“It’s amazing how much people don’t know, how much I didn’t know, about what goes into producing food, meat in particular.”
— JOSH SCHRECK, LIMA FAMILY FARMS
According to Josh and Ang, farming has become excessively modernized. But with the ease of entertainment, artificial climates, and the world’s vast knowledge at your fingertips, why shouldn’t food be easy too? People certainly deserve convenient food, don’t they? Well, if you listen to the farmers, the convenience has long outweighed the value, and our farms have become more like factories. Factories that sometimes aren’t even producing food fit for human consumption. Exploring Lima Family Farms was like landing back in the frontier days. Well… except for the watering system and modern fences.
Local grass fed, organic porkers at Lima Family Farms. Photo by Derek Vaughan Brown
The animals weren’t stuck into tiny cages and stuffed full of hormones like you’d expect from a modern farm. Hell, Wilma the pig couldn’t even see a building from where she was flopping about in the dirt. The cows were hidden in the forested lower fields like Robin Hood and his Merry Men, and hundreds of chickens pecked about in a colossal field. Their freedom was only limited by their attention span.
Free range laying hens at Lima Family Farms. Photo by Derek Vaughan Brown.
After hearing a few horror stories from Josh and Ang, I began to understand why farming was modernized in the first place. Giving the animals better lives is a lot of hard work. In a flash flood last May, Robin Hood and his Mooey Men were knee deep in water and not even beginning to worry about their safety. Meanwhile, Josh and his coworkers are helping 350 freezing cold, and vulnerable young chickens into the barn in the middle of a storm.
“One of these birds looked me dead in the eye and swore vengeance if I didn’t get her someplace dry immediately.”
— JOSH SCHRECK
The next time I’m eating grass-fed beef from Lima Family Farms, I’m going to feel just fine about where it came from. I encourage you to go visit your local farms too. Look through the photos below and see the farm for yourself.
My bologna has a first name it’s W-I-L-M-A.
Wilma (Right) and her best friend Betty (Left) at Lima Family Farms. Photo by Derek Vaughan Brown
Free range young turkeys posturing with their new feathers. Photo by Derek Vaughan Brown
Free range turkeys excitedly meeting a new day at Lima Family Farms. Photo by Derek Vaughan Brown
Cute little "chanchis" at Lima Family Farms. Photo by Derek Vaughan Brown
Grass fed cows at Lima Family Farms. That one gal looks like she rolled in some poo, but that's OK. You're still in a winner in my book. Photo by Derek Vaughan Brown