Thursday, December 2, 2010
In the 20 or so years that we've lived in this nook of central-ish Massachusetts, we've seen a dismaying number of small farms close down. Not only do we lose the access to fresh produce and the glorious acres of rolling farmland, but we unfortunately gain large housing developments that strain resources and change the very nature of the area.
So we strive to support the farms that do remain. Harvey's has been a local family farm for 6 generations. We've been going there regularly all this time, and it has been a favorite destination of Dean's ever since his first visit.
I treasure the fact that whenever we arrive, and whatever we're there for, Dean asks for $1 for a bag of food to feed the animals. Each bag has one package for the ducks, and one for the farmyard animals.
Last Sunday, a cold a blustery day, Dean wondered if we'd wasted the dollar; as we approached the bridge over the duck pond there was not a duck in sight. But the moment our feet hit the bridge, a chorus of duck chatter exploded from underneath, and a flock of very hungry and eager ducks called to Dean to throw the food. The ducks can be a little blase during the summer when children and bags of food are plentiful, but this day they were deeply grateful for the attention and treats.
As was the pig. And the goats. Dean chatted with and fed them all.
Amongst other things on our list was a Christmas tree. Each tree in the lot had a name tag, which made the usual hunt even more entertaining. (These are fraser firs, distinguished by those thick, rich swirls of needles that go all the way around each branch.)
We didn't get it at first. The tag on the tree we liked best simply said, "Your." Hmmm, I said -- maybe they meant to write "Yours," or meant to add another word and just forgot?
But no. When Mr. Harvey came over to cut off a bit from the bottom of the trunk and help us load onto the car, he said, "Ah, I see you've found Your Tree!" Indeed!
There is always some measure of guilt in our hearts about buying a real, cut-down tree. But I believe that supporting Christmas tree farmers and their farms is critically important; this is their cash crop, and if everyone stopped buying them then these farms, too, will disappear and become housing developments.
Your Tree smells glorious, and awaits lights and decorations.