Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Danvers farms

The front page story in the July 19th Danvers Herald caught my eye: Tradition, adaptation and hope: Farms find growing support. I'm delighted to know that there are still farms in Danvers and that people are supporting them. This month I have been reading an excellent new book about the importance of eating food from LOCAL sources: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: a year of food life, by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper Collins, May 2007). I recommend both the book and the supporting website: http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/.

I happened to read the opening chapter, "Called Home", on Saturday morning, July 7, just before I attended the Grand Opening of a new farm in Holyoke, MA. Both book and farm reminded me of the pleasures of growing fresh food, and I immediately decided to start my own vegetable garden. Never mind that the growing season is half over; never mind that I haven't grown vegetables in years. I felt a strong emotional pull -- I felt "called home" to the gardens of my youth in Danvers. I went into the new farmstore and looked at the seeds for sale. A familiar package sat there right in front: CARROTS, Danvers Half-Long. Well, that cinched it! I bought the seeds and went home to dig up a portion of our lawn...

I am now astonished and delighted by the progress since planting seeds on July 9th. The soil was so warm and moist that week that everything germinated quickly, even carrots! Tonight I have harvested some tiny beet thinnings to add to our salad. Yesterday I spaded over more land and planted more seeds. Every day now I think of my mother's garden in Danvers, and my experiences there as a child -- a likely topic for my next Remembering Danvers column. [update: "Garden Memories" submitted for Aug 2 issue.]


Rinch said...

I remember working at the "Wrest" Farm on Purchase St along with a lot of other kids during the 40's. We weeded those Danvers carrots, onions, corn etc.using surplus army mess kit knives. All for 25 cents and hour. Think the North Shore Mall occupies most of that farm now.

Rich Wall
Aurora, CO

Anonymous said...

Hi Rich! My grandmother grew up on that farm and has told me wonderful stories about weeding those fields too! I hope it was a great experience for you. I always try to research the farm and your post has warmed my heart.
Thank you,