Growing up in the country meant a farm was never far away. Farm fresh foods became a staple to the diet, just as much as local farmers did. Many times were spent as a kid helping the dairy farm up the street muck out the stalls, or helping the old couple next door weed their backyard garden and bring baskets of their fresh vegetables to the curb with their honor system farm stand set up under an old beach umbrella.
Having grown up surrounded by such fresh and delicious foods meant that it knowing that they are better than the alternative, if only by common sense. Visiting family in the city, the veggies weren’t as green and the eggs were so much smaller. Vivid color became synonymous with healthiness. I surrounded myself with the culture as a child, and it really came as no surprise when I grew up to marry a farmer’s son, which really meant I was marrying a farmer too because you don’t grow up a farmer’s son and not end up a farmer, at least where I come from.
I suppose, by that logic, that also makes me a farmer, as you don’t marry a farmer and not end up a farmer yourself. I mostly run the farm stand, which is an upgrade since the umbrella farm stand, as it is a legitimate building with heat, running water and electricity, much like a corner store only everything here is fresh and local. We have honey candy that the woman up the street who keeps bees makes, fresh jams and jellies, sandwiches available during the lunch hour with our own cured meats with slices of bread baked just this morning by someone in the town over. We even make our own apple cider donuts during the fall which pretty much sell out before the sun has finished rising for the day.
I’ve heard all the reasons why people shop with us, from the nutritional value to the people who know our animals are raised humanely. We have the city folk who show up every now and then, visiting their distant relatives so they can tell their friends back home that they weekended in the country and these homemade pickles are just to die for, even though they keep them on their counter as some sort of novelty item. Believe me, in one of the few times we could leave the farm for a weekend, we weekended in the city and the country is a novelty indeed, although we probably could have paid for the hotel in kale because that stuff is like gold to those yuppies.
We’re farmers for many reasons, some our own because it is the culture, but also because we like to know where our food comes from. We are primarily a meat farm, so raising grass fed beef and letting our chickens peck around where they like is important to us. We have a small vegetable garden at the house, and some fruit trees scattered around, but those are mostly for the family to enjoy as there is certainly no shortage of produce farms around to stock our shelves at the farm stand.