I often get asked, “What does your husband do?” I remember (in the beginning) I only whispered my husband’s occupation because clearly, I did NOT understand it. I was supportive (as I am a very supportive wife) but frankly I didn’t comprehend the Importance of Agriculture. I just rationalized this “Dream”.
Farming is grossly underappreciated. I am not sure why. Perhaps it is the lack of home gardens or disconnection with our farmers and our food supply. Or possibly our selfish “American” mentality. But if I myself, the farmer Wife, DID NOT appreciate my husband’s (and other farmers) career choice. How could I expect others who knew nothing about it to appreciate it? Well things have changed. Now I shout it from the roof tops that We are Farmers.
I understand and appreciate the diligence, perseverance, vision, determination, and numerous other attributions that go into daily farm life. Every Day is a new challenge and Learning experience but it truly is nothing short of miraculous. Derek and I often joke as our farm name should have been “Make it Work.” Despite the stress and turmoil it some how always works out. For that I am Thankful.
Farming to me is not an occupation. It is a Passion. I view it as one of the noblest lines of work around. How many times is Farming Referenced in the Bible? What would you do if we did not have Farmers? What would you wear? What would you eat? As Americans I think it is safe to say we are Spoiled Brats. We don’t have to think about the hard work, sacrifice, blood, sweat, or tears that go into agriculture. What went into the pair of jeans we ordered off of Amazon and got 2 days later? Where were they made? Many of us honestly do not care . Because We want what we want! We want it Now! We want it perfect! Sadly, This is our American mentality.
It is easy to go to a store of your choice to buy a flat of strawberries. We don’t think about the hard work that went into growing them. The planting, pulling weeds, tending to, picking, and washing. Not once do many of us consider the Farmer who grew them. Even how far they have traveled to get to the store. We fail to consider the how the weather, water supply, and other elements play a role in our food production. We don’t tend to think about the Expenses and Risk to the farmer.
Did you know, for wholesale farmers, if the truck delivering the strawberries is not a certain temperature or if the produce is not “perfect” the store that ordered them will not take it. When they “kick the truck” the store Does not pay for it. (Sadly this happens frequently). Then the farmer is stuck with the imperfect produce (that has now traveled to a store and back), usually he ends up donating it or composting it. Either way it is a Loss. All those day of anticipation, all that hard work is wasted because of a bruised strawberry, or a degree colder than it was supposed to be. How heartbreaking is this?
I just picked a few flats of strawberries and let me tell you. If I had to sell them. They would be expensive. Because picking is HARD work.
Derek‘s passion is planting. He enjoys watching the plant sprout from a seed and grow. He enjoys nurturing the plants and the harvest. He also delights in tilling it back into the ground and starting again. Every day is a new adventure. If something doesn’t work out you usually get to try again. While this mesmerizes me, I have a Black Thumb so luckily for everyone my passion is food and education. We all have some connection with food. There is an emotional aspect of Food that connects us to memories of the past or encourages us to make future memories. This powerful truly amazes me. I am very thankful for our profound southern culture which encourages good food, health, faith, and celebration.
The education aspect of my “job” energies me more and more each day. I feel so deeply that everyone (Adults and Children) should have the opportunity to fully understand how food is grown. I love to share ways to cooks. Because I truly feel with this understanding comes a much greater appreciation. With the correct awareness we are all empowered and able to share our agriculture knowledge with others. How incredible would the work be if we truly understood and appreciated each person and occupation?
As a new farm wife, I still had my JOB (as a home health therapist) & I still did not understand or appreciate our new farm endeavors. Our second season in, Derek hurt his back and was unable to harvest the crop. Our CSA boxes that had to be packed, the veggies had to be picked. It was raining, it was cold, I picked the veggies. At the time I didn’t know the difference between the arugula and the mustard greens. (They are both greens). I had no idea how much time it took, how much work it was. However, over the next few months and growing seasons, I found myself helping out a lot more. This was the beginning of my understanding and appreciation. I could be mad that Derek’s back was hurt. It was a setback. I could be upset and moan and groan that we didn’t have any labor (trustworthy/ hardworking/ reliable labor has been a big issue) or I can suck it up and Do what had to be done. I did the latter. Although some days may have included a few complaints.
Now our farm consist of OUR farm. Not Derek’s Farm and Definitely Not just my farm. We are a Team. I can tell you that our farm involves a lot of hard work, faith, prayers, commitment, and TEAMWORK. Neither Derek nor I would be able to do ANYTHING without the other. We are truly blessed. We get to spend all our time and energy with each other and encourage each other to grow. Daily we teach our children life lessons that are not found in school books. We hope share knowledge with our children and everyone we meet for a better understand and appreciate of agriculture and our role in society as Farmers.