Her lips are sunburned-chapped, her face browned by the wind. And although her nails are lined with the dirt of the fields, her hair is streaked by the sun to shades of honey that any fancy hair salon would envy.
Bringing their weekly harvest to their local farmers’ market, this husband and wife team have laid out their meager produce: a small stack of sweet corn, a basket of heirloom beans, a few jars of maple syrup, and a handful of tomatoes.
Even though other vendors have more robust offerings, it is this farmer’s table that draws me over. Perhaps it is the gentleness of her smile; patient, sweet, and kind. Perhaps it is the love and affection that shines from his tired brown eyes when he speaks to her. The two of them obviously sharing a prideful passion for the small yet delicious bounty they have produced: sweet corn so tender it melts in your mouth; heirloom beans crisp and succulent; tomatoes juicy red, fragrant with the scents of the earth from which they came.
It is so easy to forget these humble farmers and others like them when I walk into a mega grocery store and see the abundance of food shipped from who know where, laid out in neat rows, produce polished to perfection, so much of it tasteless. I wonder if we as a people will ever recognize and appreciate the disappearing national treasure that is the family farm.
For despite all their hardships-the late spring snows, the summer droughts, the short season- these local farmers toil not only to provide us with their scrumptious real food, but the fruits of their spirit as well.
And for this, I am abundantly grateful.
PHOTO CREDIT: SUSAN STEPHENS