Friday, April 15, 2011

Down On The Farm

Tuesday I finally went to see the farm.

It was a beautiful sunny day and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I went with Arcangelo during our break in between lunch and dinner.
Their family's farm is one of the happiest farms I have ever seen. All the animals are free range, when we rolled up we were greeted by a herd of sheep and goats all grazing lazily. I asked Arca if he was ever worried that they would run off and he laughed.
"of course not!" he said "we have the dogs and the bells."
All the sheep and goats had big bells around their necks, creating with their movements a messy chorus of chimes.The farm actually has a lot of dogs considering that there aren't that many animals to be looked after. One of the dogs had just had puppies as well, they were the cutest little things and I was tempted to take one.

There was also one baby goat that fancied herself a dog. She was born a month ago and Arcangelo told me that her mother abandoned her so he had been feeding her by bottle every day. Because of that, she didn't graze or spend much time with the other goats, she preferred to follow the humans around on their chores and stay very much under foot. The day I went Arca let me feed her so for the rest of the time we were there the baby goat acted like my shaddow, following me around and rubbing her little horns against my leg insisting upon attention.

I spent most of the time playing with the dogs and the goat while Arcangelo and his grandfather (also Arcangelo) tended to the pigs. The pigs are the main focus of the farm. The goats and the sheep are never eaten, the pigs however are slaughtered every winter so that the restaurant can produce its own salumi and cured pork products. It was interesting, I found out that the Italian government gives subsidies to farms that have a certain number of animals, so when Peppino wanted to start a farm he bought the sheep and the goats simply to reach that quota. He now tends to them as a hobby, a labor of love, so that he may keep his beloved pigs.

The farm was great. I really enjoyed seeing how a small family could run a successful restaurant as well as keeping a farm running. Both jobs require a tremendous amount of work, commitment and time. I suppose when you are so passionate about it, the work is easy to do.

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