In a world where so many jobs get easier and less physically demanding, it is awe inspiring to see a farm family take on a new, labor-intensive enterprise. Kari and Michael, a young married couple who have spent all of their unmarried lives raising and dealing with livestock and poultry, decided two years ago, shortly after their marriage, to try something new. They took out a long term rental on seven acres near their house and began planning for a truck garden. We neighbors listened as they described attending classes to learn about raising bees (to pollinate), raising a green house (to start seedlings) raising rows of dirt into straight beds (to plant) and raising vegetables and fruit to sell. I admit some of us shook our heads and said, “There’s no way they can do it. They both already work full time jobs. Where will they find the time?” But find the time they did. Kari stayed up late nights cutting up what must have been two tons of seed potatoes until her fingernails were stained black. Michael plowed and laid irrigation lines by tractor light. Both could be found early mornings and late, late evenings tending to tender young plants.
|photo of 7 acres courtesy Church Hill Produce|
They spent every extra hour at the vegetable patch. And, their hard work is bearing fruit (pun definitely intended). The strawberries are in and they are abundant, juicy and sweet.
I feel so lucky to have a commercial berry patch just a half a mile down the road. I have stopped almost every evening on my way home to pick. We’ve had strawberry jam, strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie, chocolate dipped strawberries, strawberry fruit salad and handfuls of strawberries to eat fresh. All because these two newlyweds are willing to work hard for a dream.
Soon there will be fresh lettuce and new peas followed by tender cukes, crisp beans, and yellow corn. So here’s to the energy of a young couple determined to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables. All across the country crop farmers are working just as hard to put food on our tables. It’s been quite an education to see the extensive, exhausting work close at hand.
If you come to the mountains of Virginia, stop by and pick up dinner. It's worth the drive.
For more information or to see the progress of the plants follow this link: