Monday, May 24, 2021

The people we get to meet along the way

At Carlton Farms we produce all of the meat, milk, and eggs that we sell. With the obvious exception of the wild-caught Alaskan Salmon. We believe in doing the best we can at what we do. We also believe you, the customer, are served best when we find other local folks that do an excellent job at what they do. We found that a couple of years ago with the Delano Community Farm. I had heard about these folks. I knew they farmed with horses and had no telephones, so I drove up just across the Tennessee border to introduce myself. That's where I met Conrad. He and his two barefoot boys were hand weeding carrots when I walked up. That's about the moment I knew I wanted to make their well cared for produce available to you. We started working together the very next week. For a while, we had to earn trust in each other. It's not often that business relationships are entered that all parties win. But in this case, we all win. The Mennonite farmers at Delano have learned that they can trust me to do what I say I'll do. I have learned to trust that they are using the most natural growing methods, and will allocate their best produce for me. You get to enjoy this produce in a convenient manner, as we deliver it right along with our Meat, milk, and eggs.

I could tell you about these folks for hours. I've been able to meet many of them as we make a weekly run to the community to pick up produce each week. Each family in this Mennonite community has chosen to lead a more simple life. Things move slower, and the simple things are probably more enjoyed. They have a unique way of solving problems that very much intrigues me. Case-in-point, the families that live here do so because they wanted to lead an agrarian lifestyle. However, they also realize that their farm market needs someone to manage it. Managing a retail market is not the lifestyle that any of them signed up for, so they came up with a creative solution. The men of the community rotate the managerial role each year. That way no one individual has to abandon the pure agrarian lifestyle, and they all share the managerial responsibility. I think this is a brilliantly simple solution to that problem.

Another example: On my first or second trip I noticed something somewhat peculiar. There was a large cylindrical tank standing vertically, 100 yards or so behind the farm market. That in itself is not that unusual. However, perched on top of this tank was an old milk tank. That's probably why I noticed, I've been around milk tanks my whole life, and seeing one mounted 40 feet in the air on top of another tank/tower was a bit unusual. When I talked to Conrad about this, he informed me that their windmill (about another 100 yards away) drives a well pump any time the wind is blowing. That water is pumped to the milk tank on top of the other tank. The milk tank is stainless steel so that wanter is piped into the farm market and to a nearby house. They needed the tank to be up high so the house would have adequate water pressure. Any water that is not used for drinking overflows into the other larger tall tank. That water is used for irrigation. It's both simple, elegant, and requires no power, other than wind.

As you can probably tell, I just love these folks. We connect on multiple levels. It is a pleasure that I embrace to be able to visit with them and stock up on produce each week. You can know that the produce you get each week comes from the hands of hardworking folks (and horses). It is grown by a community of folks that love the land and grow in a completely natural way. Every time I visit, I leave inspired.