a day at the fair

i know you probably all think we don’t get out much and well, that is kind of true. we tend the land, care for livestock and have a posse of kiddos in tow, so frivolous travel is certainly out of the question. we pick our events and hopefully pick them wisely.  having heard from a few different friends about the sustainable kentucky green living fair, we decided to attend. with a sunny forecast and the hopes of seeing friends old and new, we loaded the van and headed east towards somerset kentucky before dawn. our own booth was an array of off season farm products, you wouldn’t have recognized us as vegetable farmers that day with a full display of our farm’s wool products: yarn, roving, crocheted hats, lambskins, a basket full of freshly ground corn meal (deep red in color for our farm’s heirloom corn of choice is bloody butcher), organic potting soil, and a shiitake log demonstration ongoing.

our stand was nestled between friends from au naturel farm paul and alison wiediger on the right and neighbors john and jill england of outback farm on the left. the fact that all of these folks were people that we don’t get to see as often as we like would have been delightful enough, but the ANF stand was graced with some of kentucky’s best hand made scones of which my whole family had their fill and jill england treated me to a therapeutic 10 minutes on her massage chair,  i was pretty thrilled with our booth’s placement. from our position we could gaze across at hannah and jesse of rough draft farmstead. these young farmers met and fell in love with each other and the lifestyle on bugtussle farm. we could not be happier to have these fine folks joining our extended family. on either side of their stand you could find need more acres farm and sweetgrass granola: both familiar to me via the virtual world. the wonders of online connections never cease to amaze me, but the joy of talking face to face with these new friends was not to be beat!

there were nearly 80 vendors in total, each one from kentucky and all celebrating different aspects of sustainability. farmers and fiber artists. compost bins and solar panels. midwives and entrepeneurs. it was all there. a significant percentage of the farmers in attendance were young, beginning farmers, at it less than 10 years. there were some hip folks i tell you!

reports say there were over 1000 guests and we spoke to many of them. people travelling from all over kentucky and neighboring states all interested in the kind of work we are doing: it was invigorating. events like this fill me with hope and inspiration. there is nothing as wonderful as being surrounded for hours by person after person expressing interest in our life’s passion. throngs of people wanting to know how to inoculate a shiitake log or see what it takes to get wool from the sheep to the hand knit cowl i wore around my neck. how wonderful to watch over and over again people asking the woman across the way selling bacon if it had nitrates used during processing, was the sausage free of MSG? another farmer was bombarded with questions about what grain he chose to feed his swine and why. these are just the type of questions that we should be asking again and again.

as paul and i drove home, the kids sound asleep in the back, we reflected on the success of the day. we felt solidly in our 40’s, with 15 years rooted to this land, enough experience to know we have a lot to learn and a few nuggets of good information to pass around when anyone wants to listen.

11 thoughts on “a day at the fair

  1. Robin – it was such a pleasure to meet you Saturday. I’ve thought of you several times since then and have been pondering what it was about you that keeps “niggling” at my mind. This morning as I sit in my quiet place before I begin another hectic week, I think I know. You are happy. It radiates from your beautiful face. Your lovely hands were rough and a testament to how hard you work. And I felt it in your embrace when you bypassed my outstretched hand and went for a full frontal bear hug! You are content …. and I want to be like you.

    I love Radical Farmwives. I look forward to each post. It connects me to a lifestyle that is nothing like my own but keeps me connected to my daughter who looks to you and Cher as mentors and friends. (This is Hannah’s mom, by the way). Thanks for all you do and for inspiring all of us – whether we head to the office from 9:00-5:00 or to the barn to milk and gather eggs.

    • oh it was just wonderful to meet you, meeting you (and that hug) was a highlight of a great day, truly. thank you so much for your kind words, they are brightening my monday along with the sun that is choosing to shine today! i hope to see you again and again, robin

  2. Well, Robin, since I couldn’t be in attendance at the fair myself, thank you for letting me experience it through your words. Sounds like you had a great day!

  3. We didn’t get to meet you Saturday, but I think we met your daughter. We bought some yarn from her, and had a lovely conversation, she’s quite an amazing salesperson!

  4. Robin,

    Thank you so much for making the long drive to attend the fair. I started to panic when vendors and exhibitors started to arrive on Saturday morning. I felt like I had really put my reputation on the line with so many showing up to sale their wares with no guarantee that attendees would come or actively participate. It is SUCH a relief to hear the happy reports of engaged visitors and exhibitors pouring in. And I love this blog post! It is beautiful!

    Jamie

  5. Robin,

    Thank you so much for making the long drive to attend the fair. I started to panic when vendors and exhibitors started to arrive on Saturday morning. I felt like I had really put my reputation on the line with so many showing up to sale their wares with no guarantee that attendees would come or actively participate. It is SUCH a relief to hear the happy reports of engaged visitors and exhibitors pouring in. And I love this blog post! It is beautiful!

    Jamie

  6. Pingback: Kentucky Green Living Fair 2013 Wrap-Up | Sustainable Kentucky

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s