talkin’ about it

it was a strange juxtaposition of meteorological events for me. after a long, dry spell in drought afflicted califonia i returned home to an unusually wet kentucky. many inches had fallen in my absence and it has not stopped. personally, i stopped keeping track after the week when one full foot had fallen. gosh.

drops

as farmers, we are entirely reliant on the weather for our livelihood. it is often a precarious place to be and one of my personal favorite statements is “our single most important input is entirely out of our control”. alas, we are willful beyond words and optimists through and through, so while we complain about the weather endlessly, we stick with it, don our rain gear or sun hats, and do the best we can. the other thing i must mention is farmers carry a lot of pride around: pride in our work, pride in our crops. we are a devoted group and stewarding the land is not always easy.  it was a two cup of coffee, grey, thunderous, sunday morning when my neighbor’s truck pulled into the driveway.

grey

you see, my neighbor is on the verge of losing his tobacco crop. many, many kentucky farmers are teetering on the edge as well. hate to tell you dear california, but excessive moisture has it’s drawbacks! weed pressure increases, saturated soils drown plants, it is not pretty around here right now. today, this very sunday, it seemed that we all collectively had to share the story, the truth of farming this wet, wet season. the reality of fields too soaked to work. as i went online i noticed other kentucky farming friends sharing their insights.

smile

you have to tell your story, whether that be a tale of sorrow or joy, in the process of sharing we clarify our own thoughts, mobilize our support, and feel relieved of the pressure of holding our tales within. my neighbor and my husband together, leaning on the pick up this sunday morning, looking over the land, i know it helped. it didn’t dry things out, talking doesn’t do that,  but they each smiled fully as they parted. they were no longer alone.

 

 

 

there is always a first time

each and every saturday since that dramatic first delivery for Hill and Hollow CSA in 2000, we have loaded every member of our family into the vehicle in the still night for the now so familiar 100 mile journey to the metro Nashville farmers market. back then it was a lone child nestled between mama and papa in our ’82 ford  f-150. a newly turned one year old boy. then years later the pair:  a toddling boy and a daughter in arms, golly. more years pass and another babe born into the market routine. waking before dawn on saturday and hitting the road all together is a family tradition. and you know, traditions are hard to change.

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it was a tough decision to leave papa home with our youngest and our oldest.  we each have our significant role on market day. it is a long and important work day that we each treasure for many reasons. CSA delivery is the moment of gratification, of connection, of appreciation, of affirmation . we are restored in a super caffeinated, sleep deprived kind of way and it is a hard day to miss.

market

paulmarket

 

for extreme personal familial reasons, we changed it up. whether it be a lasting shift or a one time only, that remains to be seen, but this past market day mother and daughter loaded out pre dawn and rocked the market in ways we never thought possible.

we work together every day, my children and i. some days are lovely, some full of nagging and respondent eye rolling.  madeline has her own agenda at the market. a fluid dance that has evolved in her 12 years of saturdays. between urban pals and vendor buddies, i feared her plans might not mesh with having to operate the market stand with me. as it turned out, nothing could have been farther from the truth. my daughter was awesome, making sale after sale, filling CSA baskets, holding down the stand of a fellow vendor when he unexpectedly had to leave market. mindful and lovely, i was so proud.

with a pocket full of cash and a bag of greasy chips we rolled home, my girl and i. despite an unexpected vehicle breakdown (fixed by our dear fellow vendors from  Barbour Farms and Noble Springs Dairy) we relished the time to talk uninterrupted and to share a special day. the trip was simultaneously so familiar and so new. change is good friends, change is good.

 

 

sunrise in gallatin

we actually started our 16th CSA delivery season last saturday, may 9th. that happened to be the sixteenth birthday of my oldest, ’twas also my middle dear’s annual dance recital. i did mentally compose a chaotic concept of a post that never made it past my mind to your computer screen last week. perhaps for obvious reasons. ahem.

this weekend, we had the 2nd delivery of the season, but the first for the mom and kid team. the fine art of leaving the farm at 4:00 am with 60 families’ vegetables for the week, market signage, tables, display items, and my family’s provisions for the 14 plus hour day, is one we have worked hard to perfect over these years.

van

this season’s start was one of great anticipation for many reasons, it always is energizing to reconnect with our farm’s supporters after a winter’s off. the return of summer’s highly caffeinated super urban socialization is one we really do delight in! this year however there has been a huge transition at our delivery site, the metro nashville farmers market., making our return to town that much more exciting.

after years of planning and envisioning, this well established destination transitioned from a re sellers market to a producer’s only venue highlighting the finest of the local area farmers and artisans. this shift was do dramatic there have been fine folks on either side of the heated debate. for our family, we were just plain excited to see the change firsthand.

change it was.

it is hard to describe how the market felt. the tangible difference it makes when each and every vendor present is representing themselves, selling the fruits of their hard work, displaying the beautiful gifts offered from the land they steward.

sheesh.

it was a great day. personally. professionally.

now in the foggy day after i sip iced tea and hope for rain. i urge each of you to support the beautiful local food scene wherever you are. throughout history vendors and customers have gathered at markets. commerce and community happening for one spectacular day of exchange. right now, with the energy of the early season, i felt so nourished. these weeks will grow exhausting, i know that. for now, i bask in the beauty of a market season officially underway.