Tuesday, August 11, 2009

So Many Farmers, So Little Time

When we pulled up at the Chubby Bunny last Friday, Duncan exclaimed "We're at our farm!" I loved his use of the personal possessive because that's what a farm share is meant to be. Even though it's not really OUR farm, I'm excited that he has assimilated it as part of our life. I was further heartened by this week's news from the farm. It seems there is a tomato blight that is knocking out all the tomatoes, at least in our area. Our organic farmer has worked long and hard to try to stop it with all natural means possible, and yet several crops of tomatoes are just gone. As his wife pointed out last week, when she wrote the news, it's good that they are in the CSA business and grow such a wide variety of crops. If they were tomato farmers, they would be in bad, bad shape. This week, I enjoyed the farmer's rant about the tomatoes because it was darned funny, but then I realized that he's not upset about losing the tomatoes because of the money. He already has our money. He's upset about the tomatoes because he feels like he has let us down. In fact, he threatened to plant something like 21 tomato plants PER SHAREHOLDER next year to make up for it. So, I've been thinking (at Jamie's suggestion, actually) that it must be so much more rewarding to farm this way. He gets to talk to the people who consume his life's work. Otherwise, it could be a pretty solitary job. I've only actually seen the farmer once (let's call him Dan, because that's his name), and I've only seen his wife Tracey once too. We must just arrive at times when they're busy. But last week, I enjoyed watching my colleague Todd share his Lyme disease experiences with Dan, who contracted his fourth case at about the same time Todd was suffering with his first. Can you honestly say you know about YOUR farmer's Lyme disease experiences?

But I digress. Saturday, we went to Ellsworth Farms, in Sharon, CT to pick blueberries, peaches, and plums. I had always known Ellsworth was there, but we've only ever gone to pick apples in the fall. Then I tasted Ellsworth's blueberries, which are out of this world. I didn't stop thinking of them between our last picking and this one. I HAD to have more. When we drove in, Duncan asked "We are at our farm?" I said, "Actually, we are. We are at our fruit farm." I realized we had two farms. Then, as I talked out loud, I realized we have not one, not two, not three, but four farmers. Local ground beef from Whipporwill Farm is available at the Chubby Bunny, and it is located in Lakeville, CT. It makes the best burgers I have ever eaten, if you like that kind of thing. Chubby Bunny also deals in heavenly goat yogurt and goat cheese from Adamah Dairy. As I talked it through with Duncan, he said "That's a lot of farmers, Mama." I said "You're right Duncan! I think that's pretty great."

In a short year, we've become CSA shareholders who have four farmers. Now THAT is priceless.

2 comments:

mattycavs said...

I think one of the great things about our farm is that when we get there, Gary (our farmer) is always standing there ready to guide us through what's fresh for the day. I am beginning to think we are pretty lucky that we joined a small, relatively new, CSA because of the attention they pay to us--not that yours are neglectful!

BTW, we have not had tomatoes yet and the lettuce crop was lost long ago for our farmers--and we are still very happy and FULL. I am hoping for some tomatoes and corn tomorrow when we pick up!

Theresa Collins said...

No, I don't think Farmer Dan is neglectful. We arrive around lunch time so I don't even usually see his assisants in the field. He only has 3 or 4. If we pick cherry tomatoes this week (we did get those), I'm going to post a photo of the blighted tomatoes because it's so sad it's kind of surreal. I'm REALLY hoping for corn soon. We walked past it last week, and it looked beautiful. h is has been such a great thing to do.