Flooding seems to be the modus operandi for the United States weather pattern right now. Even in the dry land of Montana, my friends in town are dealing with basements full of water and small creeks flowing over roads.
This morning I ate a pear. I wondered where in the USA it came from and how it could be so juicy out of season. Then I received an email from our friends Mary and Eric, vegetable farmers in Vermont. Below from their Joe’s Brook Farm website:
Through the night of the 26th and the morning of the 27th we experienced a flash flood at our little farm. Waters reached up to four feet high in our fields and trashed several crops. When the water finally subsided we were left with mud and generous friends and neighbors who ran to give us a hand. We have saved what crops we can, but it will be at least a week of cleaning all the debris out of our field. When we have finished with that it will be another week of reseeding and transplanting. We are so grateful to those who have called to check on us and to all who have come to help.
My man Chris and I just visited them a few weeks ago–admiring the carefully strung bright green tomatoes vines, strawberry flowers about to pop, squash plants stretching up, two new sturdy greenhouses on wheels, and the sweat and dedication that goes into growing food. If you care about where your food comes from, then you’re probably down with the lingo of supporting small farms, buying into CSAs, choosing local greens (if you can get them) over greens from California. We’ve been bombarded with liberal media that touts sustainability and fine organic local food. But, I’m not sure those of us non-farmers really understand the courage it takes to risk. Actually, I know we don’t. We eat a pear in the morning and don’t think about how that pear might have caused late nights of worrying or a desperate midnight scramble to cover the trees before a hail storm. Most of us would never choose such unpredictability. It’s full time in a way that no other job is.
I wish our culture honored farmers more.
I wish our culture honored the people who feed us.
We see Mary and Eric about once a year. Each time we are blown away by the progress they’ve made: physically moving a pre-Civil War barn, removing an old concrete cistern, putting up more greenhouses, growing their business fast, weeding a lot.
This time, Chris said to them, “You are the most successful people I know.”
They laughed. But he meant it. They are.