One benefit of becoming a member of the Farmthisway CSA is you have an opportunity to form relationships with the people who grow your food. As Marty says, "You get a chance to look the farmer in the eye." Food is such an essential and enjoyable part of our lives, it makes good sense to know and trust the people who produce it.
Despite the fact he's a first generation farmer, farming seems to be in Marty's blood. When he was just a little boy seated around the dinner table with his family, he announced to everyone he was going to grow up to be a farmer. Of course, no one believed him, but Marty isn't the kind of person who lets his dreams pass him by. After 20 years of successful farming, it's pretty clear Marty chose the right career path.
Take a look at the market displays Carolyn creates, and you'll see she has an artistic flair and an eye for beauty. Carolyn finds ways to express her creative side by growing incredible mums and geraniums that burst with vivid colors, artfully arranging packages of heirloom tomatoes, and crafting absolutely gorgeous holiday wreathes. When she isn't tending to the artistic side of things, you'll find her knee deep in the dirty work of the farm. Actually, you're just as likely to find her driving the tractor or tinkering with a motor as you are to find her tending the flowers.
Marty and Carolyn have been married for 30 years. A big reason they decided to give farming a shot was they believed a farm would be a great place to raise a family. Ask them about any one of their three children, Caitlyn, Eric, or Courtney, and you'll clearly see how proud they are of the fine young adults they've raised. By far, their kids are the crop they take the most pride in, and the one that has always been the most important.
The farm can be understood in two ways. One way is in technical terms. 20 acres. 100 additional rented acres under cultivation. Fertile soil. 25 different crops grown. 6 greenhouses. 1 irrigation pond. 1 vine-covered barn.
These numbers and statistics only hint at what the farm is really like. To really get to know the farm, you need to look at it another way. Imagine walking the farm road at harvest time.
The intoxicating perfume of ripening Concord grapes lingers in the air. The vine-covered barn catches your eye, and you see it's bursting with produce. Butternut, acorn, white acorn, buttercup, and festival squash overflow from bushel baskets. Multicolored peppers and heirloom tomatoes, freshly picked, stand ready to be loaded for market.
Passing the barn and walking the farm road just a little further you'll come upon the mums. It's impossible to miss these. Some of the mums are so big it's difficult to wrap your arms around them, and the blossoms on each plant seem innumerable.
Further on down the road you'll pass the irrigation pond where you might see a Great Blue Heron take flight. Then, nestled between acres of vineyards, you'll come to the tomato fields, the vines heavy-laden with ripe heirloom tomatoes. And this is only one little slice of the farm.
Marty and Carolyn's farm isn't the type of place that numbers and statistics do justice to. It isn't an industrial farm planted in monoculture. It is a small, diverse family farm; a place where hard-working people and rich soil produce an astounding variety of delicious food.