Saturday, April 13, 2013

COLUMBIA FARM TOURS : Doko and Wil-Moore


My friend Anne had a brilliant idea to go on the farm tours of the midlands. (for all you who complain about our lovely city of Columbia and how there's nothing to do…eat dirt). ((actually no, just smile and sit back and be as happy and grateful that our town is trying and expanding in what they offer recreationally )). They provided a list of 11 farms you could tour between 1-5pm. We started at Doko, predominantly providing meat with turkeys, pigs, lambs, ducks and chickens. We finished at Wil-Moore Farms which had produce, cows, sheep, chickens, bunnies and a cute family. Anne shops from them at the Saturday fresh market on Main Street.


Anne drove, we enjoyed the breeze and the rolling hills. It kind of reminded me of going on fieldtrips to strawberry fields when we were five.

I guess it was a field trip of sorts…

…but a fun kind where the chaperones magically missed the bus and we don’t have to write a paper about it afterwards (unless we want to). No one was even constantly hushing us even when I chanted the “baa ram ewe, to your breed, your fleece, your clan be true” from Babe. I didn’t even get told off for terrorizing a chicken in my non-stealthy camera par-kour.


I feel blessed because this was my first full weekend off that I’ve had since last august (since I work Sundays). I felt blessed to have a relaxing day to wander in perfect weather with little to none goals, a camera in hand and a mission to learn more about where my food comes from.

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So, what I learned on the farms: I’m going to leave the heavy lifting for Anne to explain in her blog- because she’s the food queen and I’m sure she can explain (and remember) most of the fascinating things we learned better than I. You’ll find her take here. All kinds of terms were thrown out, like heritage breeding, shanks, crossing, square footage, millet. As the various farmers explained how they ran things at the farms and about the breeds we were seeing a few things really resonated in me.

One was:

“Hey, Scruggers', you’ve been a little out of touch with reality for a while. Remember this thing called sunshine and air? it’s not a screen. it’s not virtual. breath it, feel it, appreciate it. The meat that comes so conveniently packaged in Styrofoam, think about it and be grateful for it. Think about the life that was taken, and the work it takes to put it from the pasture to your plate.” 

Actually It was a three step process in which the ghosts of food past, present and future visited and convicted me in my ways and I learned the true meaning of food. (call me Scruuge).

In seriousness, I really don’t like to think about where my food comes from. I get grossed out by the dirt still being in the ridges of my celery from the grocery store. It’s hard to face the fact that ya gotta kill it to eat it. even more still you have to raise it and carefully watch over it, become its friend, and then eat it. And then there’s the humanitarian aspect…did you give your meat a happy life? Because I’ve watched those horribly documentaries on meet factories and slaughter houses and I was TOTALLY a vegetarian for like 3 1/2 days until I remembered how good bacon was.

Luckily there are great places and small farming community's that are trying to provide wholesome meat, raised with ideals. For example, farmer Joe from the Doko farm explained that he selects his breeds very specifically for their disease hardiness. His lambs needed almost no antibiotics or medicine. 


There were baby lambs that had been born the day before! (is there anything more sweet or innocent?). Mama sheep let us know vocally how she felt about the stream of visitors.


His pigs were a small heritage breed that he raised on millet from the flour mills in town. Their pork chops were apparently very fatty and porky in flavor. We bought some sausage that was a little more mild and very tasty. Charley really wants a pet pig one day so I made sure to take some pictures just for him. If only they stayed cute and tiny! of course the daddy  pig named Guinness (pictured below) was rather fun and followed us along side the fence.


When we walked up to the Pyrenees dogs they were like “ whoa, boo! These are my goats! touch not!”.


As working dogs, Farmer Joe was telling us how well trained they are to protect the flock from coyotes, foxes and hawks. They are extremely protective of their family/owner. One was in time out for playing to rough with the new baby sheep…I don’t blame the dogs..I’d want to play with a brand new baby sheep (but I don’t have sharp teeth).


Farmer Joe told us about his duck eggs and how they are used in pastry. I can’t wait to get a carton so charley can experiment with their rich centers and gel like whites. We steered clear of the “organ meat” for sale. Wasn’t feeling that adventure this week.

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The second farm we visited was the Wil-Moore family farm. Anne found out about them through the Main street farmers market every Saturday and we were in love with the charm and family’s togetherness. They had a lemonade stand, kids craft table and friendly faces at different stations for information. While the bunnies told each other secrets the farmer’s daughter taught us about them and how she had raised them. 


There were a mess load of chickens and I never realized how especially quirky and fun to watch they are. Their eyes are actually intelligent and a little spooky looking as they watch you back. Some were really curious about my camera lens and came to investigate.

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Farmer Wil-Moore came over to introduce us to Shanks the pardoned sheep. His life was spared because his children got attached to him as a pet (can you blame them?). He wanted them to understand the sacrifice that went into letting an animal meant for profit live. It was their job to take care of him.

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Then came my favorite part, the cows.  Anne exclaimed in surprise “they’re actually pretty!” which nailed the kind of wonder you get from seeing a cow up close. Though they lack the grace and art of a horse, there's something really astonishing about those long lashes and curious looks. They are friendly laid back old friends all gathering for gossip around a bit of hay. Even sweeter was the mother cow encouraging her calf to be brave, nudging him away or signaling him to flee if she felt danger.

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Super fun day with a super fun friend (who is seriously a babe):


and thank you so much to the hospitality and teaching at Wil-Moore and Doko Farms, it’s no easy task to open up your home to a large crowd of silly city folks. You can find them both on Facebook and at the Columbia main street market on Saturdays if you’d like to purchase produce/meat. The eggs we got at both farms have been exceptional.


  1. aaahhhh yeay!!!! love this. except really?!? on the first photo. i look so upset.

    haha. love you!

    1. aha sorry, you were such a good driver watching the road instead of worrying about smiling :) i will switch it with another lol

  2. hah!!! you didnt' have to change the photo : ) there are PLENTY of bad photos of me out there! : )


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