To see Tom Barkin’s slide show of the event, click here.
What a great day we had at the pig roast! And in so many ways. Slow Food believes that food should be good, clean and fair–we succeeded on all counts on Sunday. The food sure tasted good. It was grown right here at one of Eugene’s organic farms. And our farmer host joined us for the meal with his family and his entire crew.
We got to do some other things too. We got to show some kids that food grows out of the dirt. In fact, this particular food was grown in that dirt right there. And the pig was raised right over there. Indeed you could stand in one place on Sunday and behold the entire landscape where the dinner was grown. A rare and wonderful thing.
We also wanted to bring together the people who grow the food with the people who eat it. So there we city folk were sharing dinner with David and Laurie Hoyle, their extended families and the entire crew. We should do this kind of thing more often.
Because we wanted families to attend we had to make it affordable. That meant lots of volunteer labor to make a special event. The thank yous must start with our hosts–David and Laurie Hoyle. David really went the extra mile for us. Actually it was close to 200 extra miles. Even though the pig was raised about 50 yards from where it was cooked and eaten, David had to drive it to McMinnville for slaughter. There simply aren’t any USDA processing plants any closer. (This would be a good topic for your next letter to your Congressman. We spend billions a year to subsidize food in this country–yet David has to drive 200 miles to a meat processor.). David and the crew also did lots of extra work to prepare a working farm for 125 paying guests. Even though we paid full price for all of the food (that’s a Slow Food Eugene principle) David was still the event’s greatest benefactor.
Melissa and Adam (from Adam’s Place Restaurant) provided the experience and talent to cook a five-star, on-site meal for 150, including the farm crews. Melissa started prepping veggies on Friday night and was at the farm at 5:00 am Sunday to start slow roasting the meat. By the way, she helped David build the cinder block oven on Thursday night. (We told you this was a lot of work.) My favorite thing about Melissa was how fun she made the entire day. She was there to enjoy the day and she made it fun for the volunteers who were there to help.
The Slow Food team showed up in a big way too. Dani Emrick and Bev Mazzola were the reasons why the event was beautiful and affordable. They schemed for months on how to get tables, chairs, flowers and everything else we needed for a comfortable and beautiful setting without spending a lot of money. They had help from Erin Walkenshaw, Daphne Dervin and Terri Chrones in setting up on Sunday. In total we probably had 20 people spend the whole afternoon setting up and having a ball. My boy Shelby is still tired from running around with Hilde the dog!
Some others who deserve thanks include Greg Heath who loaned us the oven and grate to cook the Pig. Mike Wooley and Rick Baylor from Long’s Meat Market who butchered the pig and helped out all day long on Sunday. Victoria Charles-Wilson brought her wines from Territorial Winery and helped us serve the Ninkasi beer. And Scott Sherwood who played his guitar during dinner.
Finally, Tom Barkin will try to edit this out, but I won’t let him. Tom is the steady, encouraging hand behind all of the Slow Food events. His enthusiasm and constant encouragement are what brings everyone’s efforts together.
The event came together for me when I greeted some late arriving friends at the top of the drive to the farm. As I turned to walk back down with them I beheld this wonderful thing. Music and laughter in the air. Children playing. People at flower-filled tables shaded from the sunset by a majestic oak tree. My friend saw the same scene and said, “This is beautiful.”