Posted by Maryellen Driscoll
One weekend this fall we could not make it to one of our farmers’ markets, so two bighearted friends volunteered to cover for us. They left here at 5 a.m. Hot coffees in hand. Van fully loaded. They returned 12 hours later. Vehicle emptied. Spirits high. The entire day was chock-full of eye openers...and that's without even meeting the customer who travels by roller skates and professes to be a superhero (seriously). What truly awed our friends were the relationships we have developed with the people who come to the market to buy their food. They couldn’t believe how many people knew us by name and were all in a tizzy about our whereabouts that weekend. Some took a double-take at the banner on our tent to make sure they were still buying from Free Bird Farm.
Most of these customers come faithfully every week. Many know our children’s names, as we know theirs. We often talk about food—the things we cook or plan to make that week. Some will bring us baked goods or samples of food they’ve made with our produce.
Week after week after week, people come to our stand faithfully and often pause to genuinely thank us for growing their food before they tote it away.
That appreciation carries us. And the relationships and friendships we’ve developed with so many amazing, generous, interesting (sometimes even famous) people we’ve met through our farmers’ markets and CSA enrich our lives and give greater meaning to all that we do. We’re not just stewards of the land. We are feeding clean, healthful, locally-grown food to people we’ve come to know along with their families, friends and sometimes neighbors.
So this blog is meant to be an expression of thanks to the many amazing people who support us and help keep the spring in our step. It’s also meant to goad those of you on who haven’t discovered your local or regional farmers’ markets to do so. Become a regular or seek out a CSA. Or do both.
Find yourself a farmer (or two or three…). You’ll be glad; the farmer(s) will too.
(P.S.- find yourself a Certified Naturally Grown farmer, and he or she might have one of these clever yellow bumper stickers for you too.)