"When the next batch of hurricanes hits and the oil wells run dry, whom do you want to wake up next to? Someone who can program HTML or someone who can help a cow give birth? Do you want someone with Bluetooth or someone with a tractor?"
Well, as a geek who really likes to eat, I'd want both — but then I've always been greedy. However, those were just rhetorical questions Lou Bendrick was posing on the back page of the August issue of Common Ground magazine.
Her subject was "The Sexiest Guys on Earth," and she starts by making fun of a new phenomenon: city folks in lavender Uggs swooning over the well-muscled folks who grow their food. But read past the shirtless beefcake photo of Farmer Jay McPherson that accompanies the article — or don't, as he's pretty delectable — and you'll find Bendrick has a larger, less Sex-in-the-City point to make.
First of all, for farmers to have been elevated to objects of lust means that American consciousness has undergone a sea change. As Bendrick observes, "Less than a decade ago, farmers were relics from an agricultural past that seemed forgotten by everyone but real estate developers." But as urbanites (like us) began to seek out organic produce and decided to forge a closer connection to their food, they began to see its producers in a less — well, redneck — light.
Are farmers are poised to become the next class of stars in American celebrity? Why not — a sexy farmer is the logical successor to the sexy chefs who currently dominate the cable channels. As Bendrick says, "We have a primal need to connect to food, and a farmer is one step closer to the source than a chef."
So, in the interest of strengthening those connections, we Ethicureans are going to start bringing you mini-interviews with farmers (and their representatives) at our local markets. I'll be posting my first, with Martheus and Abel from Smit Orchards, later today.