Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lessons From A Dairy Farmer

Yesterday I talked to a farmer named Brock.

He grew up in the area, because generations of his family owned a local dairy farm. As we chatted, he greeted people and joked around with them. After each encounter, he told me a tiny piece of their lives... usually about their connection to the farming community.

He explained how difficult it's been to find ways to save his own farm. He hosts events, makes cheese, and used to sell raw milk before regulation made it unprofitable. His brother operates a roadside stand offering fresh produce during the summer and fall. In October, the two of them open up their pumpkin patch to families, and then chop Christmas trees in November and December.

We talked about Carnation Farms, and how sad it was when Nestle bought it more than a decade ago. It was one of my favorite places, mainly because during National Dairy Month they gave away free ice cream. I discovered that my childhood tour guide of the farm had been my new friend.

I've been gone from this community for so long.

When I run to the grocery store, I smear makeup on my face so that if I run into someone from high school I won't wonder if there are pillow creases on my face. When I see someone I knew forever ago, I wonder what they'll say to whom after we part ways.

But I forgot how nice it is to have things in common. To not have to explain my town's name, to know the same places, to share experiences common only to locals.

I realized yesterday that one branch of my family has lived in this area for about 100 years. It stopped me in my tracks. And while I don't know if I'll be here forever, I'm really glad this is where I started.

Thanks, Brock.


Monique-aka-Surferwife23 said...

It's always comforting to know you have roots somewhere, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

coming home is always good, y'know!?

Anonymous said...

beautifully written :)

I feel the same way about my home town. Always good to be back! For a little while at least.

Sara said...

I want that. Just need to find that place first...

And such a beautiful picture!