It was a special treat to visit Farm Sanctuary and participate in the annual Hoe Down weekend. Farm Sanctuary has been doing amazing work on behalf of farm animals for more than 25 years — rescuing animals who often have been left to die in stockyards, working to educate the public and promote the plant-based diet, and contributing to legal efforts on farm animals’ behalf. The hoe down is a celebration that brings advocates together to discuss what’s happening, celebrate recent milestones in animal rescue and protection, and spend time with the animals that call the sanctuary their home.
What Came Before
In addition to all the wonderful activities of the weekend, my husband Seth was honored with this year’s “Friend of Farm Animals” award for his work as producer of the short film What Came Before. The number of viewers is now in the millions, and the film is currently being translated into several languages. Over and over, we’re hearing from people that say this film was what made them decide to go vegan. WOW.
While visiting the sanctuary this weekend, we were able to meet two of the three animals featured in the film — Fanny the dairy cow and Nikki the pig (and three of Nikki’s piglets!). If you haven’t watched the film yet, I encourage you to do so and please share: the stories of these three animals are so extraordinary, and they’re also a reminder that each animal has a story all her own.
Which brings me to to the highlight of all the highlights of the weekend: meeting Victoria, my little girl! Each November, we adopt a turkey through Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey program. Our Kima is no longer in Watkins Glen, and our Raphael lives at the California sanctuary; but what a treat to hold out my hand and offer my little one a clump of grass. Loved loved loved my “mama” time with her.
Watkins Glen travel tips:
Although most of our time was spent on the sanctuary premises, and lots of delicious vegan food was provided for everyone throughout the event, we did venture out into the surrounding area towards the end of our stay. Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake are absolutely gorgeous country, and we discovered a couple of great little local spots:
House of Hong is a Chinese and Sushi place with lots of vegan options. We were pleasantly surprised that such a quaint little town could have such a happening place. Our table of friends enjoyed the steamed vegetable dumplings, edamame, and a couple of specialty rolls before our entrees.
- Glen Mountain Market is a darling little cafe on the main street where you can enjoy fresh coffee, vegan baked goods (try the oat bars), and — like us — grab a couple of sandwiches to go for the road trip back home. On our way out of town, we picked up two “Sanctuary Special” sandwiches to enjoy roadside later that afternoon: Portobello seitan with lettuce, tomato, and spicy mustard on a freshly baked baguette. De-lish! Glen Mountain also has a “VLT” — seitan bacon, lettuce and tomato — that I bet is super tasty.
- Roadside Farm Produce! You can’t beat the fresh produce from local farms. Blueberries, sweet corn, and tomatoes…