Honoring Independence: Three Utah Farmer Vignettes

Jul 2th, 2015 Comments (0)
american flag made of cherries, taffy and ice cream

Independence: To be free of outside control; to not depend on another for livelihood or subsistence.

History was changed with the courage of a few nearly 239 years ago. A Declaration was made – the Declaration of Independence.

Consider the background – a handful of labeled extremists united with what most thought an “impossible” dream: the ability to be free from political oppression and suppressed opportunity.Despite the doubt expressed by their neighbors and families – they boldly signed their names to a document that declared truth against the big boys: “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”And so, today – we honor them with fireworks, parades and barbecues. We stand for the red-white-and-blue and cry as we hear the melodies of the land of the free and the home of the brave.While these traditions are rejuvenating, I would hope that each of us would also seek to pay-it-forward: to display courage and tenacity of our forefathers: To declare a new independence.

ralph prunning fruit trees

Think about it - as one study the pages of history, he/she is inspired by the courageous stories of those willing to meet uncertainty with a tenacity and determination. Honestly I couldn't think of a better word to describe our hard working farmers and ranchers.

Consider Ralph, owner of the LAST orchard on Orchard Drive in Bountiful, Utah. Despite his "upper" years, he still oversees his small fruit operation (cherries, apricots, peaches and apples); and still picks up the pruners to whack off an old branch.  Most amazingly, despite the pressures to sell his land for cash cow found in development, Ralph refuses. He continues to teach his son-in-law and great-grandson about the land, so that one day they may carry on his legacy, via 3 Squares Produce. Ralph embraces the independence found in the first peaches and cream of the season.

oolite cheese building

Or think about Rachel and Joel, owners of Oolite Cheese. Both always dreamed about buying a limestone pioneer home in the Sanpete Valley, a place which they both cherished from childhood. Truthfully, they felt like they'd only achieve their dream when they were old and gray; however, after a birthday cake, made from a variety of cheeses, they were inspired to start their own business, to move towards independence, just like the early settlers of Manti, Utah. Now, they own their home, and make an artisan, high-quality sheep cheese that wins over local and national chefs. 

Finally, consider Shayn and Kristen, owners of Utah Natural Meat. Shayn fell in love with farming at the side of his grandfather nearly 60 years ago. Now as a dad, he is passing on the legacy of farming to his three boys and one girl. Consider the wisdom found on their "about us" section of their webpage:

shayn driving the horses at utah natural meat

Living in such a quickly changing world, we observe the slow pace of farm life disappearing before our eyes. We see value in raising our family to learn and appreciate the ethics and standards of hard work that were passed down to us by our parents while working together on the farm...We truly are a family farm and your support helps us preserve and pass this way of life onto our children and the generations to come.

Nestled in West Jordan, Shayn and Kristen remind us of the independence that used to exist in our food supply. They offer consumers grass-fed and pasture fed beef, pork, lamb and chicken. They understand the value of investing and growing a local food supply to maintain independence from foreign markets.

So to Ralph, Rachel & Joel, Shayn & Kristen, and the thousands of other American Agriculturists - we salute and honor you, along with our great veterans. 

To all those who preserve and uphold freedom, Happy Independence Day!

Oh, and just in case you're wondering how to make a American "foodie" flag - its quite simple: go buy some Utah cherries, and taffy for the stripes and spread some Aggie Mint Ice Cream for your blue background. Top with taffy for the stars - and eat fast!

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