Warmer days are here and it feels so good. It also feels good to send you some news about us and our farm. In many ways, I miss the pressure of having to write a weekly farm update. Over the years it has forced me into a discipline of getting out of my head; to pause for a moment and let you in on our lives. Earlier this year when we shifted our food growing away from a direct-to-consumer model, I thought I would continue the practice of weekly writing. I thought wrong. So, I am grateful for this moment to be here, writing.
A new rhythm has emerged on our farm. Where we used to focus on what our CSA members and market customers wanted, we now focus on what we like to grow and what sells well. In years past, our weeks were punctuated with harvesting for two weekly farmer’s markets. Now, we harvest when crops are ready. What has not changed is the routine of seeding, transplanting, harvesting, weeding, bed preparation, fence-mending, installing irrigation, and the multitude of the other tasks. Our farm team is smaller and we produce a smaller variety of crops. But for the first time in five years, we are growing more tomatoes than anything else. While it has been a slow beginning to this growing season, with a few weather events causing havoc, we are hopeful for a great summer!
If you are interested, several restaurants in the city are serving our produce on their menu’s. The likes of Heritage, Saison, The Daily, Castanea, the Rogue Gentleman, and others. Some produce items are also available at Ellwood Thompson’s and at Little House Green Grocery.
You should know that our Georgia is now fourteen months old and growing well–healthy, strong, and talking up a storm! Much to our delight, she loves eating just about everything, and is endlessly curious about the world. While she is just a tad too young to begin harvesting with us, she loves riding in her red wagon anywhere the sun shines. Oh, and she also loves the piano.
Those who know me well, know that I love films. It is a storytelling format that just grabs me. I am partial to documentary films, but I cannot get enough of classic subtitled martial arts films. It’s weird, but maybe I got it from my dad, who loves old Western films, especially ones with Lee Marvin or Clint Eastwood. Nevertheless, soon after my arrival in Richmond in 2010, I attended a food and farming documentary film screening at the Byrd Theater. It was a fantastic film that has forever changed the way I think about small-scale, community-based food growing. But something else also happened. There I met my former boss, who taught me most of what I now know about food growing in Hanover. It set me on a path to Origins Farm, and This Farming Life as you know it.
All of this to say that on Thursday, July 7th Slow Food RVA will begin a documentary film series focused on food and sustainability. The first film, Revolution Food, will be screened at the Firehouse Theater on Broad Street, at 7pm. Tickets can be found here online. Get yours soon as the theater can only seat 100. Revolution Food is all about the positive changes taking root in our modern food system. It focuses on real farmers who are growing/raising real food — and the consumers who are demanding it. The screening will be followed by a Q&A panel, with food growers Dan and Janet from Broadfork Farm, Colin Beirne, Marketing Director at Ellwood Thompson’s, and Kate Ruby, local food expert and manager of the farmer’s market at St. Stephen’s. I will be there to facilitate the post-screening conversation — come join me!
This Farming Life would be nothing without the poems that have accompanied it all these years. While the world is full of rich, simple, and delicious poems, it is often a struggle to choose just the right one to include. I am partial to complex yet simple poems; ones that may be ambiguous; and which may or not invoke a range of emotional responses. But I am also drawn to the classics, like Mark Twain. His poem, Warm Summer Sun, expresses the wishes I have for you and your summer. May it be so.
Warm summer sun,
Shine kindly here,
Warm southern wind,
Blow softly here.
Green sod above,
Lie light, lie light.
Good night, dear heart,
Good night, good night.
Be well, eat healthy, and be kind to yourself and others.
Alistar, Rebecca & Georgia