I stood at Pike Place Market in Seattle, looking out at Puget Sound. Whale watching boats trolled the waters and ferries shuttled cars and passengers back and forth from the mainland to Whidbey Island. It was the latter that caught my attention. Discovery is a strong motivator, and those people - those ferry people, were seeing something that I couldn't. It wasn't long before I was driving the rented Jeep Liberty onto the ferry. My wife and I were going to see whatever it was that those ferry people were seeing.
When you look at Whidbey Island's rocky shoreline from the Washington coast, agriculture is not one of the first things that come to mind. We passed a small lighthouse as we surged from the dock. Sea birds floated over head and dove into the salt water around us. Once the ferry arrived at Whidbey, we awaited our turn, then departed the ferry and began to explore the island. Within minutes, we were cruising past fences and cows. Cows?!? We had left our farm in the Midwest, and expected a vacation from the agrarian lifestyle. After driving 2 hours to the airport, flying 2000 miles to Seattle, standing on the edge of the continent, hopping a ferry to go even further, we found cows chewing their cud and staring back at us in a fashion we are quite familiar with. No matter where you go it appears that cows are still just cows.
The one thing that struck us pretty quickly was that the island is somewhat removed from the big box stores and hustle of city life. It was Halloween when we visited, and we were a little surprised that we never saw a store bought costume. It is a little like stepping backwards into another time. We found it to be refreshing and encouraging. Of course prices are higher at the local markets and stores, but adding a little sanity to your life has to be worth something.
After visiting the island I decided I would like to discuss the island lifestyle with a local. Even better, I wanted to discuss life on an island with a local farmer. This is how I happened across Ron Muzzall. Ron, his wife, and three daughters raise 150 grass fed cows on 600 acres of island property known as 3 Sisters Farm. How does raising cows on an island compare with the Midwest? Tune in and find out on Blog Talk Radio at 8PM Central, 6 Pacific on Sunday, December 16th. Just go to the show page at http://bit.ly/Uz5s6n . You can call in and join the conversation by dialing (347)633-9051 . You can listen while you wrap some of those Christmas presents!