I’m perhaps too romantic at heart to ever achieve or reailise or make material the idyll of the self sustaining, economically viable, fun loving, all singing, all dancing Catering enterprise but I’ve found a very fine example of a family who have. Annoyingly you can’t embed video from Vimeo into WordPress so you’ll have to just follow the previous link and promise to come back. The Chase family have built an inspiring business and a tiring if not exhausting lifestyle for themselves through a simple field to plate ethos. They all look well for it but it is clear that the demanding workload they have taken on requires more than a desire for profit to carry them through.
I’ve had the notion for a while that it would be satisfying to produce the vegetables and salads and even some of the fruits we use in our catering business. Having spoken to some friends who farm I have come to understand that perhaps the amount of time I put into the project will never be reflected in the money it might return for me. It would be something of a labour of love.
Having recently read Candide by Voltaire I feel that I’m increasingly swayed toward the idea of taking solace in one’s industry and of knowing that in one’s work there is more than just labour but a sort of satisfaction, you know, a job well done and all that. So when I think on that basis. of doing the best job I can, it inevitably leads me to thoughts of farming or gardening my own produce.
After Candide’s great journey, a parody of the Grand Tour (the entire story itself a parody Empiricist Philosophy) he settles on some land with his companions. After the excitement and turmoil of their travels they take some time to adjust to less varied life. It takes an old man to offer some sound advice and set the conflicted party at some kind of rest, saying:
“I take the view that those who meddle in politics tend to come to miserable ends, and deserve to do so. But I never inquire what is doing at Constantinople. I am contented with sending thither for sale the fruits of my garden…
… I have no more than twenty acres which I dig with the help of my children, Labour holds off three great evils: tedium, vice and poverty.”
What makes the old man’s simple philosophy so alluring is the description of the variety of foods he is able to offer Candide,
He invited the foreigners into his house, where his two daughters and two sons brought them home-made sherbets of various kinds, of caymac flavoured with the peels of candied citrons, oranges, lemons, pineapples, dates, pistachio nuts and Mocha Coffee – which was unadulterated with the inferior coffee of Batavia or the American islands. After this the two daughters perfumed the guests’ beards.
I always chuckle at the thought of the old woman in Candide’s group having her beard perfumed. The entire image of beard “coiffeurism” is quite comic – candied peel embedded and all. The exotic delights they encounter in the Levant though are all the incitement I need to consider what life might be like if I attempted to achieve what the Chase family of Maine have so successfully built.
There’s talk of a community garden getting set up on Newton Don Home Farm and one of the residents is about to buy a couple of Tamworth Pigs- one of which will definitely be coming our way once butchered. Maybe the field to plate idyll is not so far off after all.