We all do it…


Contributing Editor
Walter W. Pickut

As a matter of fact, it’s pretty hard to imagine not doing it. And if you stopped doing it, you wouldn’t even be here to say so.

It’s kind of like the old joke that says – “If your grandparents didn’t have any children, then your parents probably didn’t either, and neither will you.”

We all do it–We eat!

Eating, however, is much more than merely taking in the proper nutrition at the proper times. If it were, eating would be so boring we’d probably all quit doing it and die shriveled up like raisins. But eating is more than that.

Poet Maya Angelou once said, “Eating is so intimate. It’s very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life.”

So then, when you create a meal and prepare your table—whether it’s simple or elaborate, whether intimate or casual—you are part of a food chain that stretched from the field to your kitchen table and the people you provide for. At every step, there is a producer and a consumer.

So, this week your Jamestown Gazette reminds our readers about where that life-sustaining chain begins. It all starts on our farms, the ultimate producers. This week we invite you, the ultimate consumers, to celebrate our local agriculture with us.

Chautauqua County is among the agricultural powerhouses of New York State, home to more than 1,200 farms, 96% of which are family owned. There’s probably no place better to teach children some of life’s most important lessons. They might start on the farm, but they’re highly portable.

I bet you can find a way to take every one of these to the city after you’ve learned them on the farm.

  • Life is simpler when you decide to plow around the stump.
  • Every path you take will have a few puddles.
  • If you’ve dug yourself into a hole, the first thing to do is quit your digging.
  • If you get to thinkin’ your advice is pretty special, try telling your pigs how to scratch.
  • And always drink upstream from the herd!

Chautauqua County has a total land area of just over 1,000 square miles, about 1/3 of which is dedicated to agriculture, making it one of the more important agricultural counties in New York State. It is well-balanced for productivity, divided nearly half and half between animal and produce, ending in a significant food processing, value-added output sector.

But a farmer’s success is not measured just in statistics. It’s measured by you and the good that eventually lands on your table. Think again about where it came from if you want to enjoy all the real flavor.

The success of Chautauqua County’s agricultural industry is a credit to its many, far thinking, progressive farmers. Their work and their influence contribute greatly to the stability and resilience of the entire region.

Since we all do eat, let us encourage you this week to remember where it all comes from. Whether you see it in your shopping cart, sizzling on your stove, or passed around your dinner table, take one more look and remember how it got there.

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.