Arts & Culture

PubliCola Nightcap: Talking Cows with Kurt Timmermeister

By Angela Garbes March 23, 2010

Town Hall's got Moby (yes, that Moby), but afterward, PubliCola's got Kurt Timmermeister, local farmer and cheesemaker.

This Friday, March 26 from 7:30 - 9:00 pm, Moby, a veteran vegan, will be at Town Hall promoting Gristle: From Factory Farms to Food Safety, a new book on industrially produced meat that he co-edited with Miyun Park. Gristle includes essays from ten different contributors about the detrimental effects of large-scale meat production on the environment, agricultural workers, communities, and animals.

We've got no beef (sorry) with much of what Moby & Co. have to say: Factory-farmed meat is brutal on workers, the earth, and animals. But there are also a growing number of folks raising livestock responsibly and humanely, as well as cultivating fruits and vegetables that are consumed just a few miles—even a few feet—from where they originate.

At his farm, Kurtwood, on Vashon Island, Timmermeister does exactly that—raising (and slaughtering) his own cows, pigs, sheep, and rotating flocks of chicken and ducks. He keeps bees and tends a vast garden of vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees. He also makes Dinah's Cheese (named after one of his Jersey cows), a creamy Camembert-style cheese that's among the area's best.

Timmermeister, for 18 years the owner of Capitol Hill's now-defunct Café Septieme (which he sold in 2004, and which shut its doors last December) hasn't always led such a pastoral existence, and he's chronicled his experience in a book titled Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land, which will be published by W.W. Norton next year.

Whether you can make it to Moby's reading at 7:30 or not, join PubliCola Editor Erica C. Barnett and me around 9 pm on Friday for a "Nightcap" with Kurt Timmermeister in the Town Hall bar. We'll talk about meat, food, and the joys and implications of eating.

[caption id="attachment_32299" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="Photo by Clare Barboza"][/caption]
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