Extended Family | Sojourners

Extended Family

In large part because of my grandmother's North Dakota farm stories, I spent the first 30 years of my life wishing I lived on a farm so I could bake pies, make soap, churn butter, can peaches, build furniture, stuff sausages. I wanted to be outdoors all day. I wanted to watch the moon wax and wane, and live the seasons as they changed.

At the age of 31, I finally did move to a farm, but soon discovered that to be a farmer you had to, well, farm. As in work hard. All that other stuff was a sidelight. Fortunately, the work has turned out to be as satisfying as the lifestyle.

When people ask why I farm, I usually say it's because I like to cook. But it's also because I and my husband, Steve, want to live simply, and to have so much fun doing it that others might perhaps be tempted to turn off their own televisions and air conditioners. We like being a part of the current experiment in trying to grow more of America's food without poisonous chemicals, and we choose vegetables in particular because there is a strong market for them right now. Through grace and luck, despite quite a few fire ant bites, we've been able to make a living farming in Texas.

From a business standpoint, we can make the most money by spending our time on the farm growing and letting wholesalers do the selling. So twice a week we drive a truckload to a warehouse in Austin, 90 miles from our farm. Felix helps us unload. John gets on the telephone and sells for us. Semi driver Steve fights the city traffic to deliver to stores. Produce managers David, Nathan, Jeff, and Christy stock shelves and answer people's questions (like "Where did this come from?") and even cut samples for customers to taste. Peggy saves boxes for us to pick up later.

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Sojourners Magazine September-October 1995
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