One of the bonuses to living in a rural area is that you live near farmers. I love having conversations with farmers. You never know what you will learn and it is always interesting. Standing on the side of the road, next to a table full of sweet corn, you can chat about the weather, how things are growing, and tidbits about the people in town.
Last night I stopped to get some of the last sweet corn of the year. Many grow it in the area and I have already frozen about seven dozen for this winter. The type I froze was called Bodacious. Who wouldn’t want to eat corn called Bodacious? And it was. Big, yummy kernels full of sweet milk. I can’t wait to have some at Thanksgiving this year. The type I bought last night was called John’s Special. Living in a small town, you can name your corn for yourself. It made me smile when John proceeded to tell me about his corn. Every farmers corn is the best, and they don’t have trouble telling you why. John’s Special were smaller ears, but firm kernels. White with just a hint of buttery yellow. The kind you don’t need butter or salt for, it was tender enough on its own. He helped me pick fourteen ears for my $3.00 because of the size and corn worms. He wanted to make sure I got my money’s worth. We chatted about this being the last weekend for corn and how the dry weather in July and the raccoons had affected the crop. John is about my height and has the weathered face of a man who spends most of his time outdoors, regardless of the weather. He has a big grin and blue eyes that light up when talking farming. He’s the kind of guy you believe because he is so forthright. He told me to call the farm after eating the corn and let him know what I thought. And I will. Because farmers need to hear how important they are. They may not be making big business deals or creating policy, but they are feeding the people who do.
My uncle’s farm on the bank of Lake Erie. The farm has been around for over one hundred years. It has changed a bit in that time, moved from horses to tractors (ask them about the big, GREEN one in the barn-on an Allis-Chambers only farm), and no longer deliver eggs to the greater Erie area. Now they have pigs and beef cattle, with only one coop of chickens. They are raising some turkey pullets, which are apparently the dumbest birds on earth. I remember a conversation in the chicken coop with my uncle and husband as our kids gathered eggs. Chickens molt. And it is not pretty when they do. Quite a few were molting at the time and they looked pretty ragged. Coach asked why they looked like that and was treated to a short anatomy lesson including an up close and personal look at a chicken’s rear end. We learned that they lay less when molting and how to tell when this was going to happen. It was great.
You never know what you will learn talking to a farmer. You have to be willing to take some time and listen. You can’t be rushed. I guarentee you won’t be disappointed.