Every summer, usually in June, Green Spiral families venture forth to explore a different (and usually organic) farm.  Seeing something in real life, like hogs clearing the forest, is completely different than reading about it in a book or on the internet.


This year we visited a teaching farm:  The Farm at Kraut Run, located about 40 minutes from the Arch, straight out highway 40, past Weldon Springs.

The Farm at Kraut Run is managed through sustainable handcrafted practices, it’s home to a variety of animals such as ducks, chickens and hogs, and it’s set up to receive school groups interested in learning more about responsible environmental stewardship and our local food supply.  Farmer Chris Wimmer and colleague farmer Ryan Smith are not only passionate about sustainable farming, they also possess a very deep working knowledge of their craft, which is inspiring and somewhat contagious.


Green Spiral Tours is a “family adventure school” for a reason, and true to theme, when we arrived, the farmers were chasing an escaped hog about the farm.  Full grown hogs are big, strong, valuable, and they definitely have minds of their own.  We checked out the ducks, chickens, hoops and gardens, but the hogs, in the end, were the highlight of the tour.

It is fascinating to watch hogs clear the forest right before your very eyes;  in the age of confined animal factory operations (CAFOs), it is thrilling to see an authentic local example of Joe Salatin’s farming style, that Michael Pollan writes about in his book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” (2006).

If you’ve not had a chance to read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” yet, keep it on your reading list, as this book helped launch the current food movement that is only now coming into being.  The dilemma is the question of what to eat, given we now live in a world where everything (from wild mushrooms to McDonald’s) might kill you.  By the way, Michael Pollan has a new book out, called “Cooked” (2013), which is about how cooking, and eating together, civilizes a society. I recommend them both.

While on the subject of books, let me also recommend “Turn Here, Sweet Corn” by Atina Diffley, about organic farming in Minnesota, a book recommended to me by one of my Green Spiral moms, and one I consider to be a modern classic.

2013-06-02 ducks

Back to the farm tour: for a little extra money, farmer Chris and farmer Ryan called in their chef, who prepared fresh appetizers including bean dip, beet punch and pork & kale stew for our school group.  We anticipated the appetizers during the whole farm tour, and, true to course, the delicious offerings exceeded expectations by a country mile.

That makes three very different teaching farms worth visiting within easy reach of downtown Saint Louis: The Community Supported Gardens at LaVista near Alton, EarthDance Farms in Ferguson, and The Farm at Kraut Run out highway 40.  See earlier Green Spiral posts for links to the other farms.

Here’s the link to the Farm at Kraut Run in the event your school or learning group might be interested in visiting. Rates are quite reasonable, as the farmers are passionate about their work, and sharing the mission of responsible stewardship handily increases the “pie” of consumers interested in local and sustainable foods.


By the way: Is there anything in the world better than pink cowboy boots and a chicken!?!