As I continue this journey in life, I am reminded daily of lessons and values that my parents instilled in me. At the time these bits of wisdom were entrusted to me, they were unconnected and untested pieces of the larger puzzle of life. It was not necessary or even possible to know the grand scheme then. As I have moved along the road and my perspective broadens, I can see the bigger picture as the newer observations mesh with older pearls and makes clearer the grand scheme. As chapters in a book add new elements to the tale, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, older wisdom and new experiences make up different life chapters within a book that never ends. Those early lessons set the stage to take in life experiences yet to come.
One of the things I adored doing while growing up was a trip in the station wagon with my parents to the local produce farm, which in my hometown was the renowned Henker’s Farm. This was a working farm and they had huge fields of crops growing, and you could see and buy seasonal produce.
Located on Bedford-Banksville Road near the Bedford line were the almost twenty-four acres that had been farmed for over two hundred years. At one time the land was cultivated for growing food for the French Hospital, a makeshift hospital located across the street.
When you walked down the long sloping driveway, on the left was the farmhouse and off to the right were two barns, one for tractors and machinery and the other for the produce sales. In the background past the barns and along the driveway was a stand of Norway spruce that must have reached one hundred feet tall and stood in a row two hundred feet long. These massive trees, a haven for the local American crows, spread their drooping branches over the driveway. Beyond the spruce row, and to both sides, were fields of at least ten acres each.
While I could not imagine it at the time, this was real honest sustainable agriculture. We bought often and ate well for many delightful weeks during the warm months. Who knew farm to table, back then, it was a fact of life. Or knew or cared about suburban growth either, the farm had so much history and presense, it was always there and it seemed like it would always be there. Well it is gone now I’m sad to say, the farm was sold for more money than produce could supply and now well crafted mini mansions have sprouted up from the old farm yards adding to the tax base and with not a care about a quality of life that can’t be restored.
The modern version of Henker’s Farm is the local Farmer’s Market. The absolute joy that is fresh produce, now comes to visit on a weekly basis from those regions still blessed with farms and open space. The hardworking farmers now live further outside of densely packed suburbia, and the local denizens living now in the new improved farm free zones do not have drive to distant farms to partake of locally grown produce. There are other benefits to local Farmer’s Markets….
Tomatoes of many varieties.
Bread, Olive oil & Pastries.
Beets, Cucumbers, Cabbage & Greens.
Granola Bars of top shelf.
Farmstead goat milk cheese of superior taste.
Mobil Wood-fired Pizza.
Fine Foods Chilean style.
Milk, Cream, Yogurt that are delightful.
Coffee + Cold Roman + Roman Kiss are exquisite and for the sophisticated Palate.
Westport Farmers Market Winter Market is now on through March 16th, 2013 at Gilbertie’s, 7 Sylvan Lane Westport CT. WFM’s Summer Market will return May 23, 2013 at 50 Imperial Avenue in the Parking lot.
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I love this blog, Mardi. The farmer’s market images are terrific, one of my favorite things to photograph!
Thanks Nancy. My photojournalism interests expand far and wide. Helping others to really understand the importance of the bigger picture of not only supporting your farmers, but to understand sustaninality,conservation, eating healthy and educating our next generation. Cheers.