I’ve been reading Barbara Kingsolver’s 2007 book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. In it, she tells the story of a family trip they took during their year of living (and eating) off the land. I think in part she includes this story as a way to talk about how much work goes in to a local farm — e.g. small farmers can never leave home. She makes a point of explaining how extraordinary it is that they would take a vacation during the summer months. But she’s Barbara Kingsolver: the vacation was already planned, and though the farm will be overgrown when they get back, they’re only supporting themselves so it’ll be all right. I think she also includes the story of their vacation as a way to point out to her readers the different ways people can travel and still eat (and otherwise consume) responsibly — from packing locally grown (or other reasonable) snacks in coolers (and thus not relying on spontaneous [and heavily processed and disgusting] gas station purchases) to doing advanced reconnaissance in order to find local eateries that serve — wait, did I just make this up?! — fare from there.
One of the places Kingsolver and family go is a restaurant called The Farmers Diner in Quechee, VT. [Sidebar: apparently there are two locations of this great eatery; the other is located in Middlebury, VT.] She does not identify where the restaurant is so I’m not sure which one she visited, although based on her description my money’s on Quechee. If I’m wrong, however, this could help explain our server’s perplexed and anxious expression as I went on and on about Barbara Kingsolver, her amazing book, and college freshman reading programs. Oh well. If you’re interested, Kingsolver describes her succulent experiences at The Farmers Diner on pp. 148-153 of the Harper Perennial paperback edition.
I had the chance to eat at The Farmers Diner in Quechee a couple of weeks ago. The dining experience was everything I had hoped for — though possibly not as orgiastic as Kingsolver’s experience seeing as I had not been subsisting uniquely on root vegetables and greens up to that point. [Gastronomic note: in her honor, I had the burger. It was good. But the fries loaded with Vermont Smoke & Cure Bacon, Cabot cheddar cheese and scallions were gobsmackingly good.] Here is the adorable Quechee location:
As we went to pay for our meal I noticed the requisite wall of merch behind the counter. I was attracted to the cute Farmers Diner tees, one of which I now proudly own. I was also partial to their coffee mugs, so I bought one of those too. Then I noticed some other items hanging on the wall; they looked like cotton lady underclothes — a knit top with spaghetti straps, suitable for lounging or sleeping, etc.; and a lower part that was more than a bikini bottom but less than a boxer short. They offered them in various colors and patterns. What caught my eye — and required a double take — was the cutesy logo emblazoned across the front of these lady pants.
In bloc print, it said: Eat Local!
Surely I’m not the only person who would see that and absolutely fall on the floor laughing. And I can’t help but wonder: did they not think it through? Or, perhaps, did they fully think it through and find it as brilliant and funny as I do? Working the land for a living, I suppose farmers do tend to get a little dirty.