Thursday, July 02, 2009

Down on the Farm

What more could you ask of a day in the country? The sky a robin's egg blue, the light clear and the sun just beginning its decline, painting the fields a slightly golden hue. Positively bucolic.

Anthony and Carol Boutard (left) had planned out the schedule with military precision, and the Ayers Creek Farm open house went off without a hitch, right down to the pizzas that were spitting out of Mark Doxtader's brick oven like mortars out of a firing tube. It wouldn't have surprised me if Anthony had his orderly display of soil amendments alphabetized, his lecture skillfully sprinkled with amusing anecdotes to keep his guests' attention while he extolled the virtues of each mineral.

And when it came to the tour of the fields of charentais melons, pole beans and sorghum that will be stocking their booth at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market starting this Sunday, he cleverly hit the rows of ripe raspberries (right) exactly halfway through so that listeners could gorge themselves (and stain their fingers that telltale reddish hue), getting a sugar hit that would carry them through to the end of the tour.

The cleverest ploy, however, came when Carol started bagging up the several flats of leftover sweet potato starts (left) that she couldn't bear to throw away and handed them out as party favors. It was so tempting that even I considered bringing some home and finding a spot for them in my already overstuffed beds.

To get serious for a moment, though, these two are acting on their conviction that food is best when grown by people you know and trust and consumed close to the source. And that talking about the love they have for their land and the pleasure they take in sharing its bounty with their customers translates into more aware consumers. To put it more succinctly, they rock!

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