Moving Meadows Farm open retail store

There is more to naturally-grown, nutrient-rich foods than farm-fresh eggs, free-grazing cattle and lovingly prepared baked goods. There is a ministry in their making. At Moving Meadows Farm, Wally and Amy Hudson prove that a great meal constitutes great ministry with every product they sell at their new retail store on East Davis Street in downtown Culpeper.

After all, they’re committed to one principle: feeding friends as family.

The Moving Meadows retail store’s grand opening on Friday, Dec. 20, was a celebration of that ministry by friends, family and fellow worshipers at Grace Fellowship Bible Church where Wally Hudson serves as one of the pastors.

“We take an artisan approach to farming,” Hudson said. “This is authentic, real food that is not adulterated in any way.”

And customers can see the proof for themselves. Unlike big-block grocery chains, Moving Meadows shoppers can “authenticate” the Hudsons’ stewardship of the land and the fresh, genuine nature of their products: “Our farm is just a few miles away” from the new retail shop on East Davis.

Shop at the store, enjoy your next meal, then stop by the store to let the them know if they hit the mark.

There’s more: Moving Meadows customers can actually “authenticate” the natural way the food was brought to their table. How? By visiting the farm itself.

“We want feedback,” Hudson said. “We advance only by improving our products, and that is based entirely on customer feedback. We make adjustments to improve constantly. That is our goal.”

One taste of their chicken, beef or gourmet goat, all grass-fed and finished, demonstrates that the Hudsons honor what they call their “flavor rule.”

That rule is: “flavor rules.” The axiom seems sovereign at Moving Meadows, from the pasture-fed chickens to the homemade breads and eggs from free-range hens.

Moving Meadows partnered with another artisan farm, Keith Farrish’s Saddle Ridge Farm, to sell pastured pork at the East Davis shop. Involved for some six years in the local food movement, Farrish and marketing partner Elizabeth Gibson-Melson were joyous at the Davis Street ribbon-cutting, applauding the grand opening. Gibson-Melson said she became involved in the local food movement and sustainable farming some six years ago. Now, it is a way of life for her and her family.

The farmers of Moving Meadows and Saddle Ridge employ grass-fed grazing techniques and move pens periodically to spread manure evenly across the farms. They give animals the space to, well, be animals: chickens “hunt, scratch, peck and roost,” Saddle Ridge explains. Pigs wallow, rabbits forage and “cows leisurely graze and peacefully rest in open spaces.”

Regardless of the product you purchase at the East Davis store, one thing is certain: there are no artificial additives or hormones. At the core of the sustainable farm movement is the slogan “No GMO” – meaning, no genetically-modified organisms. Reportedly in 80 percent of processed foods, GMOs artificially alter the genetic make-up of the wheat we consume in bread or the corn fed to beef cattle in factory farms. “No GMO” advocates point to studies that show genetically altered foods spark allergies, immune deficiencies, even premature aging.

The chief baker at Moving Meadows is Wally’s wife, Amy Hudson, who calls the people who work natural farms “heroes.” She expressed gratitude to her church family for supporting the grand opening of the East Davis shop, and she credits her own family for the hard work and long hours demanded of an artisanal farm and busy bakery operation.

Everyone in the Hudson family pitches in, she says. “We all like to eat a certain way,” Amy Hudson explains, so a natural ethic emerged at Moving Meadows: “We feed friends as family.”

More than 10 years ago, the Hudsons lived in suburban Alexandria, Virginia, where they dreamt of building not just a farm but an organic farm-to-table operation. Their desire to move to the country soared as their little suburban garden out-grew itself. The dream was realized in 2003 when they moved to Culpeper, bought a 47-acre parcel and built a farmhouse.

Their enterprise is skyrocketing. It was only this past April when they witnessed their first calf born. Now, they celebrate the opening of their first retail store front. That’s progress.

And it’s ministry as well.

For the Hudsons of Moving Meadows, the making of a wholesome, heart-warming meal and the breaking of bread is ministry. And that is food for thought indeed for all of us.

Moving Meadows Farm
254 East Davis Street
Downtown Culpeper
540-317-5862
www.movingmeadows.com

Tuesday through Friday: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Breads available Wednesday through Saturday.
To learn more about the “No GMO” movement, visit:

http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/
or
www.saddleridgefarm.net

For the position paper on genetically-modified foods from the American Academy of Environmental Science, visit:
http://www.aaemonline.org/gmopost.html

Gourmet Goat? Really? Really!

At the grand opening, I purchased Goat Loin Chops at the Moving Meadows retail shop. My first culinary experience with gourmet goat, I was truly impressed. At the recommendation of Matthew, the Hudson’s congenial son who is master-of-ceremonies at the East Davis store, I embedded my loin chops with a few cloves of crushed, fresh garlic I pounded into the meat. Not feeling particularly adventurous the eve of Christmas Eve – not that I had to build a trampoline or create a Lego City – I soaked the meat briefly in a marinade – much like the one I use for London Broil.

There was no need.

The result? Paradise on the palate. I paired it with a Pinot Noir (from nearby Frenchman’s Corner) and a slice or two of Amy Hudson’s Pumpkin Raisin Spice Whole Wheat Bread. Sweet dreams!

Unfortunately, my son raided the bread the next morning, and all was but a pleasant memory when I awoke. Family happens.

High in protein and markedly lower in fat and cholesterol than beef and the other “what’s for dinner?” meat contenders, goat is seen by many Americans the way we view soccer. The rest of the world calls it “football,” but we know it’s not.

To 70 percent of the world’s diners, however, goat is sheer delicacy. Chevon in French, cabrito in Latin America, it’s what I’d call in English “a unique, rewarding dining experience.” And increasingly in my household, on special occasions particularly, it will indeed be “what’s for dinner.”

I’m guessing some of my dear readers are adventurous like me. So, if you have a verve for venison, a love for lamb and the occasional feeling your dying for delectable duck, you’ve got the spirit: Go for the goat.

My next purchase at Moving Meadows? Goat stew meet to make the cabrito version of my Wild Mushroom Beef Barley Soup. An award-winning recipe – at least in my own mind and certainly with my own family and church friends.