The Norwich Winter Farmer’s Market occurs the first Saturday of each month during the winter. Our farm held a vendor booth at the February market. Shoppers came to market prepared to do their monthly food shopping. Long lines formed at the vegetable booths as customers waited their turn to choose from the large bins of root vegetables, displays of canned goods, meats, and eggs. Just by looking at shopping baskets, you would never have guessed that outside temperatures dipped below freezing and that four feet of snow blanketed the ground. Orange carrots, red beets, turnips, rutabagas, and potatoes spilled over their crates awaiting customers to purchase them. By the end of the day, these same crates were nearly empty and the stand next to me had only one enormous rutabaga left.
The warm yarns in our baskets enticed folks to stop and talk with us. Many, interested in what we do on our farm, stood and chatted to learn about our summer Sheep and Wool Camps for children. I took advantage of the long line at the vegetable stand next to our booth and began talking with folks as they waited for their vegetables. Some people I talked with learned the difference between worsted and woolen yarns, and how different breeds of sheep produce entirely different fleeces. Some learned about llama fiber and natural dyes. By the time their turn arrived at the potato bin, they had gained a little more knowledge about yarn, fiber, and the animals that produce it.
At the end of the day, I meandered through the vendors stopping to talk with two of my favorite farmer friends. I visited with Jenn Megyesi at Fat Rooster Farm who has just published her own book titled The Joy of Keeping Chickens. I have known Jenn for about 9 years now. She has been my mentor and encourager through all of our farming endeavors from meat birds, to sheep. Jenn has been an invaluable resource to me providing me with meat bird resources, answering my 2am calls during lambing season, coming to our farm to help with a ewe who has prolapsed, and taking in my sick rooster….more than once.
Next I visited with Laura Channel of Your Farm. Kevin and Laura Channel raise organic vegetables along the Connecticut River in Vermont. They are a constant inspiration to me with their enthusiasm, strong work ethic, and knowledge. Laura and Kevin are great stewards of the land God has blessed them with. Their booth is always over flowing with wonderful produce that lure the customer in. It is a joy to see this couple working in unison.
At the end of the market day, I felt satisfied to have been a part of such a community of farmers who give so graciously of their time and talents to provide their neighbors with quality, locally grown and crafted foods and goods. None of these men or women farm to earn fame or to get rich. They work out of a love for what they do and a desire to share the fruits of their labor.