August 9, 2016
What is in the VEGGIE BOX?
Long Beans, Summer Squash, Green Basil, Slicing Tomatoes, Potatoes, Eggplant, Peaches and Shishito Peppers
What is in the FRUIT BOX? Figs, O’Henry Peaches Grapes and Plums
This Week on the Farm
Many years ago, in a galaxy far far away Jeff and I helped start the Davis Farmers Market-40 years ago as college kids- Jeff and I found ourselves in the time of movements. We lived on campus at UC Davis in a communal 10 person house-still going strong today (Agrarian Effort-the best part of my college education). Our house was part of a buying club that eventually turned into the Davis Food Coop. At one of the organizing meetings of the Coop Henry Esbenshade and Martin Barnes asked if anyone was interested in helping to start a Farmers Market. Jeff and I leapt at the opportunity-why? Who knows, we were young idealistic in the era of the back to the land movement. It only seemed right to have our community with farmers coming to the center of town opening their trucks filled with produce to sell to the community. Jeff was almost finished with his Civil Engineering degree and I almost finished with a degree in Renewable Natural Resources-we both got swept up with the times, and veered left and with the three founding families of the Davis Farmers Market we started farming together. In the first year of the market we decided that managing a farmers market was not going to bring us a decent annual income so we created a farming partnership. Knowing that you need Good Humor (ice cream man) and good humus to be able to farm- Good Humus Produce was born and thus the name.
None of us knew how to farm, but we knew that we were not interested in conventional farming, and with meeting some of the older “before the war” farmers at the market we had found our mentors to learn how. It was certainly a different time-just a few farmers markets starting up, (at that time there were just a few in the entire state of California), the concept of organic was so young then the images of organic food was small, bug eaten produce. I was the first produce manager of the Davis Food Coop and I can remember going to Chicks Produce at the Wholesale Produce Market in Sacramento, and I was the only women there-it was a man’s world. And working in the fields alongside our partners sometimes I forgot I was a woman!
There are so many stories-so many images of the past 40 years, and so many people that have come past our stand at the market, or have been behind the stand helping us sell the abundance of Good Humus and so many of those folks we call our friends and extended family now. I have to say it really is hard to believe that 40 years has passed of farming, of marketing, of being a part of a movement that has taken hold in our lifetime. That is truly amazing-usually the artist is not acknowledged until years after they died, but that is not the case for the organic agricultural movement. Times are a changing, and who would have guessed in those first years as young idealist that we would be where we are today. Not that our work is finished, or the next generation has it easy, not that we haven’t made our own generational mess, but as part of the 70’s movement, I feel we can say we have made a difference.
I think that one of the founding ideals for Jeff and I as we came back to the land was to raise our children in the country with lessons of life and death, have nothing and make something from nothing. Toys were the fields of bull thistle to whack down…and you know it was a good decision-I am proud of my girls knowing how to jump start a car or fix the guts of a toilet when it isn’t working, and Zach can tackle any job in front of him and they all know where the dollar comes from-their hard work.
So as we stood in the blessing circle at the Peach Party on Saturday eve with about 200 people trying to make the circle, with old friends in the circle, all of our family in the circle including our 8 month first grandson in the circle, and noteworthy there were many new faces, and some new farmers in the circle. Jeff talked about the future-and where the hope lies, and it is with our children, as is with every generation. We can only hope we have laid a foundation for the future farmers to continue the work that so needs to be continued. To open our farms to the children so they can run free in the fields with the butterflies, to harvest that fresh dripping sweet peach and just gobble it up, to know that this farm, and all the farms in our communities are a source of more than food, but a place to come to, to connect to, to watch the hills turn brown from green, to know that water is the source of life in this web we live in. So I can say I am proud of what we have begun, but know that it takes a lot of gumption for it all to continue, and I only have hopes that our next generation has that gumption to do the work-“try not, do or do not, there is no try” Yoda. Words to live by if you want to be a farmer.
There will be a 40th Anniversary celebration this coming Saturday at the Davis Market-I welcome you all to join us in that celebration, and in our Good Humus 40th year of farming celebration. Have a great week! Annie