“God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ … I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets… It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners.
Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.’” So God made a farmer.”
Yesterday Deep Roots Farm received the stamp of approval from RI Department of Health. That means this #farmHer is officially in business to sell our products directly off the farm, at farmer’s markets, through local CSA’s, and to restaurants and stores. The years leading up to this farm and the last seven months of work here have paid off. We are on our way!!
This winter was easily the hardest and most rewarding period of my life. It broke me emotionally, mentally, physically, and almost financially. But at the same time, every day I went to bed knowing that I was doing exactly what I was meant to be doing with my life. That I was following the plan that the universe had written for me, that I almost didn’t even have a choice in the matter. That no matter how hard things got, I could never give up on this farm.
I spent half of a winter’s night outside sitting with a first-time heifer having trouble giving birth. I pep talked her, I sang to her, I spoke gentle words of love into her ears. In the morning I dragged her perfect dead little calf away from her and buried it in the frozen ground. I cried for the life lost, for the distraught mother, and for the financial loss this meant for me. A few weeks later I watched another calf race wobbly legged and awkward around the pasture, testing out his new legs and then running back to the security of his mom.
I built a fence with frozen fingers in a white out snow storm, because I was determined to get it done before winter hit. A few days later I got to see my little herd of cows kicking up their heels as they galloped joyously around the new field.
I got home from work at Flatbread many nights near midnight after a 15 hour work day, falling into bed exhausted, only to rise again early in the morning to do it all again. And though I dreaded getting out of bed, when my favorite cow walked up to me each morning and planted her head in my stomach for her back scratch, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. Every week I deposited my paychecks into my farm’s bank account, relying on the generosity and kindness of my family to feed and house me, so I could feed and house my animals.
This winter I learned to ask for and accept help, something that isn’t easy for anyone to do. The truth is, without the physical and financial help of my family, this farm venture wouldn’t be cruising full speed ahead like it is now. My Dad driving to the farm store in the middle of the first big snow storm so we can retro-fit the milking barn into a free-stall barn to put the cows inside. My brother showing up at sunset so we can catch chickens in the dark and put them in the eggmobile. My sister coming to help me paint the floor of our new store room. My Mom helping me build fences and take care of the animals. My Uncle visiting every weekend to do whatever needs to be done and calling me weekly for progress reports. My Stepfather picking up hundreds of pounds of fruits and veggies at the local grocery store to feed my pigs. My friend Allie, who miraculously decided she was going to show up each Tuesday to help me get things done. These acts of love and kindness are being written into the soul of this magical place. Everywhere I look I see something; a fence, a building, a renovated room, that has been built by my family and friends.
The hours I spent lugging buckets of water through mud, snow, rain, and sleet. The times I walked into the hardware store only to start crying when the owner asked me how I was doing. The worrying about money. The feelings of utter despair that I felt this winter. The longer I spend here on this farm, the more I know that this profession was never really a choice for me. Being a farmer was written in my cards long before I ever knew it. I will stewart this land while I am alive and hope that I bring up the next generation to love and respect farming as much as I do. Because nothing makes me happier than listening to a pig slurping the juice out of a watermelon. Nothing brings me more satisfaction than providing nourishing food to people that I love. And nothing fills me more to the brim with every possible emotion than walking the land of my ancestors, surrounded by happy animals, and knowing that I am preserving this story for one more generation.
Farming is an interesting profession. Disregarded and disrespected by so many. One of the hardest jobs out there; physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. There aren’t many reasons to become a farmer except for love. Love for the land. Love for the animals. Love for the people who you are providing food to. Deep Roots Farm is a farm that has been built out of love. And I am filled to the brim with gratitude and joy that we are officially in business and ready to start spreading that love around. Will you help us?