I vividly recall the reactions from many of my friends and colleagues when I announced that I was moving to Aiken to farm. Yes, there were a few snickers and more than a few raised eyebrows. It was understandable, to a certain degree, because they saw me as a suburban professional who wore high heels and spent my days in an office. They never really got a glimpse of the “other” me.
My earliest and fondest memories of childhood were of spending my summers in the farmland of rural Wisconsin. The drive along the country roads as the green pastures with wooden fences rolled past seemed endless. With the windows rolled down, I could smell the fresh cut hay, hear the familiar sounds of an active farm and yes, I even took in the smell of manure. I sat in the window seat mesmerized until the station wagon would slow and make a lazy turn into one of the long muddy drives of a local farm. My mother, you see, would drive along those back roads looking to fill our refrigerator with fresh produce, eggs and meats.
We got to know many of those farmers quite well. They came to recognize our green station wagon with the wood panel sides and funky skylight from way out in the field, and would make their way towards the barn and farmhouse as we approached. Always in overalls, the muscled, weatherworn farmer would hop off of his tractor, call to his wife and together they would load us up with “the good stuff”. Heck, even the tiny grocery store in town carried only local, seasonal produce, eggs and meats. So to say we ate well is an understatement. Everything was so full of flavor! I’m convinced that those years established my lifelong eating habits.
During those pick-ups at the farms, I was able to sneak off with the children while the adults talked. I can still remember walking into the musty barn to see the new litter of kittens tucked in the corner on a pile of fresh hay. The smell of the barn was intoxicating: a mixture of earth, hay, diesel and feed. The light filtered in between the cracks of the siding, making the dust in the air sparkle. I dreaded hearing the start of the station wagon engine and my mom calling to us that it was time to go.
Those were my early years and the memories have been etched deeply into my soul.
So here I sit all these years later, on my own farm, with my own barn, and all the sights and sounds that go with it. I realize that my mother was way ahead of her time. She knew that local, fresh, seasonal, and unprocessed foods were what we should be consuming, even though “convenience foods” were all the rage.
Our goal when starting Happy Earth Farm was to be able to eat the way I did when I was a kid, and we have achieved that. Another goal was to be able to grow and raise enough to invite others to be a part of our good fortune.
Happy Earth Farm is excited and proud to announce the first year of our CSA program (community supported agriculture). Basically, a CSA means buying a “share” of the year’s harvest. While my mother had to drive around from farm to farm to get what we needed for the week, a CSA is one stop shopping; once a week take a trip down our dirt road to pick up your weekly share of what is in season.
And maybe take a minute or two to breathe in the country air or wander over to visit with the cows and chickens. Lifelong memories start right here.