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The Agricultural Culinary Folk Arts

September 23, 2013

By Christian Saretzki

Originally published in the Autumn 2013 newsletter of the Biodynamic Association of Northern California (BDANC), this is the first in a series of articles relating to the experiences of what Luke Frey coined “The Agricultural Culinary Folk Arts” (

Milk was never appealing. It was rather tasteless and a bit too watery, not to mention the fact that it came in a plastic bag on which the words “homogenized” and “pasteurized” were clearly highlighted. That is part of what I experienced growing up in a big city like Bogota, Colombia. At least, to balance things out, home-made cooking was the norm and grandma’s love for the kitchen could turn any store-bought produce into a delicious meal.

For the past six months I have been working and apprenticing at Luke Frey’s Biodynamic Farm located in Redwood Valley, Northern California where I have been given the task of milking two lovely Jersey cows and turning their milk into a variety of dairy products, especially cheese.

Christian Saretzki in Frey Vineyards' cheese cellar

Christian Saretzki in Frey Vineyards’ cheese cellar

Could raw milk really taste so delicious? Could real butter seem so yellow? Could fresh whey be so sweet? Could the cream that rises to the top be so thick? Could one fall in love with the art of making cheese and devote oneself to tending the wheels as if they were tender living creatures? These are some of the questions that confronted me as I entered into this commonsensical way of living.

The farm also produces an abundance of seasonal vegetables, herbs, and fruits, as well as fresh eggs. Meat is harvested once or twice a year from the different farm animals in a humane and conscious way.

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Showcasing a beautiful collection of artisanal cheeses

With Emily Frey

With Emily Frey

With this vast array of wholesome ingredients, the possibility of creation is limitless and the sacrificial act of cooking and eating brings satisfaction beyond measure. When one sits at a table and beholds the many simple delicacies that have been handcrafted and gathered within an eighth-of-a-mile radius, it becomes a healing experience that nourishes the whole of man, or at least this has been my own experience.

Thus, is not surprising to find that when one participates harmoniously with the stream of life, this has the potential to evolve further through our own efforts. So, in a sense, real alchemy is our fingertips as long as we become familiar and respect the integrity of life and, for this, the farm environment offers an ideal setting for greater learning, enjoyment, and exploration.

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