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June 25, 2014

Being a farmer is kinda like being a rock star these days. Except for the huge piles of money and the loud music and I’m reluctantly short on the wavy locks of long hair. Anyway, everybody is interested in local food and getting back to the land. People want to know why their farmer chose to farm and what our days are like. They want to hear stories of quiet evenings and the hustle of the harvest. There’s a good deal of romanticizing about farming and I try to emphasize the positive aspects as much as I can.

But as loyal readers know, I don’t gush swimmingly about brilliant sunsets and rainbow chard all the time either. Often times, I drone endlessly about the searing heat, the physical toil, the long hours, and the low pay. I even received one email from a customer who wrote, “sometimes the newsletters are dreary….” (memo from Public Relations Department – population: me – whatever you do, don’t make folks dread reading the newsletter). Anywho, it’s my job to tell you what it’s like. It’s my job to bring you closer to the folks who grow your food. The truth of the matter is, farming isn’t always so glamorous and wonderful.

So why do I farm?

When I’m at the farmers market and I see a single mom choosing to spend her food dollars on organic fresh food and walking away thinking she got the best deal in the world, that’s why I farm.

When I see a little girl with a smile as wide as Montana munching on some colored carrots from her CSA box, that’s why I farm.

When a guy my age – but probably younger and definitely better looking – has been a customer for years and he only joined the CSA in the first place because his girlfriend – now wife – made him do it. And now he actually likes swiss chard and comes every week to get more. That’s why I farm.

When we drive up to the food pantry and there’s a line a block and a half long and it’s 15 degrees outside with blowing snow and the woman who is doing much worse than I’ll ever be doing thanks me for bringing them fresh vegetables, that’s why I farm.

When I get an email that’s about a mile long and the author writes enthusiastically about how thankful they are for our farm and how much they enjoy the food and they appreciate our hard work and that they’ll be a member for life, that’s why I farm. I got one of these emails this past week.

When a little boy tells me that his favorite vegetable is Farmer Rob’s lettuce – and he’s totally serious and smiling and actually munching on a lettuce leaf right now – that’s why I farm.

When I look into Christina’s big and beautifully blue eyes and I see an amazing, hardworking, and tenacious farmer who shows up every single day and gives absolutely everything she has to the farm, that’s why I farm.

Come to think of it, it IS the best job in the world!

Thank you for supporting the crew, the soil, the air, the water, and the business of Montalbano Farms.