The presence of two steers had me opening and latching a gate when I arrived to Three Fiddles Farm. I followed Matthew and Karin Boughton down a tree-shrouded trail to where the cows munched away. They would harvest the steers this fall for meat made juicy with wild grasses and produce unsuited to sell. For now the animals lounged beneath smoky skies.
Located a couple miles south of the local ski hill Bridger Bowl, Three Fiddles Farms spreads out beneath the elegant peaks and evergreen foothills of the Bridger Mountains.
Squash plants flower golden blossoms while onions emerge from the earth by the dozens. Hot and sweet peppers populate the green houses alongside tomatoes hanging heavy from tangled vines.
Two central things bring me back to Three Fiddles Farms, both here on this property and to their stand at the Tuesday night farmers’ market. The first is the farmers’ fiery spirit. They grow, sell, freeze and ferment food with a contagious passion for sustainable and healthy food. As evident on their farm, local food grows with abundance and can provide ample sustenance for the everyday person.
“Superior food is here,” Matthew said. “With the right consumer support, it can redevelop local agriculture, local food culture, and local economies.”
Though being a farmer has its challenges—such as weather, pests, and a fickle market—Matthew and Karin find the best thing about farming to be the food, plain and simple. “Thanks to our diligent cultivation and food preservation efforts,” Matthew said, “we are able to capture [year round] the peak of nutrition for sublime culinary use!”
This is the other central thing that draws me to Three Fiddles Farm. Matthew and Karin’s basement is a modern day homestead pantry. The vegetables, fruit, and meat they cultivate in Bridger Canyon sustains them throughout all four seasons—including Montana’s infamously long winters. They’ll sizzle up the farm-fattened burgers and serve it with roasted winter squash. For dessert, they could thaw some of the raspberries we were stuffing into freezer bags that afternoon.
I left Three Fiddles Farms with a bag full of berries and a renewed sense of purpose with where and how I buy my food. It comes back to Matthew and Karin’s contagious passion for sustainable food. Transitioning into the food-centric ethos they embody isn’t an overnight possibility for most people. I aim to deepen my local food practices each year: committing to the farmers’ market once a week, or learning to garden a little better each summer.
With the harvest reaching its climax these days, buying local is as easy as ever. Farmers like Matthew and Karin are here to offer us the “superior” food that will help our food culture move away from harmful practices and toward those “sublime” culinary experiences.
Thank you, Matt and Karin, and all farmers, for making local food an option!
Fellow Bozemanites: you can buy from Three Fiddles Farms at the Tuesday night Bogart Farmers' Market and at the farm in Bridger Canyon on Sundays, 3-6pm.