Bob’s Note: Today we’re featuring another BFM vendor in their own words, Farmer John Jennings of Jennings Brae Bank Farm in Wetzel County. John and his wife Mollie are long time vendors at the Market and offer a wide range of fresh produce as well as pasture-raised pork and grass-fed Scottish Highland beef. Check them out at the Market today and at http://www.jenningsbraebankfarm.com/
Farming is a hard profession. There are days where I have questioned my sanity for quitting my day job, and its steady paycheck, to toil away in fields with my hands in the dirt. I have seen freshly planted fields sitting under 6 inches of water. I have felt helpless as sick calves die under my care. I have cursed after finding my 600 pepper plants, just starting to blossom, munched back to the stem by invading deer. I have spent more time working on fixing equipment than I ever will working on farming with it. There are some days that all of this seems not worth the effort. Mother Nature can be a cruel boss.
On the days where farming seems too tough and I start feeling a little sorry for myself I have to focus on the rewards I’m granted being a farmer. Cherry tomatoes right off the vine are my favorite summertime treat. A newborn calf trying to find its legs for the first time is adorable. The view from our fields at sunset could be on a postcard. A barn full of hay gives me as much satisfaction as money in the bank. Generally, though, my greatest reward every week is attending Farmers Markets.
Farmers Markets give me an opportunity to put our hard work on display. Providing food for people provides me a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Talking with other farmers about our successes and failures makes me feel less alone in this challenging endeavor. The gratefulness of the customers who buy our products provides me with the energy to keep going. An afternoon at the market is time well spent.
Living in West Virginia I sometimes feel disheartened by the constant barrage of negative news about the struggles of our state and its people. It can feel a little hopeless. Farmers Markets help restore my hope for our state, communities, and farming. The action of traveling to market to purchase local and quality ingredients takes a little effort. There are so many of you making that effort every week at the Bridgeport Farmers Market. It is uplifting to see all of the Farmers, small businesses, customers, and organizers working so hard to create a wonderful community. Thanks to all of you who organize and attend the market, your support keeps me farming.
Thanks, Farmer John!
Just a reminder that there are still a few tickets left for Saturday’s fund-raising dinner, A Wild and Wonderful Table. Click the link for ticket purchases thru PayPal. The list of WV chefs who are participating is quite impressive and their menus may be even more impressive. Check it out:
- Chef Tim Urbanic of Cafe Cimino in Sutton, WV
- Chef Joe White of the Bridgeport Conference Center
- Chef Richard Arbaugh of South Hills Market and Cafe in Charleston, WV
- Chef Geoff Kraus of Thyme Bistro in Weston, WV
- Chef Cody Thrasher of Cody’s in Bridgeport, WV
- Chef Pamela Delaude of Mia Margherita in Bridgeport, WV
- Chef Michael Diethorn of the Country Vintner of WV
- Chef Jay Mahoney of Pierpont Culinary Academy in Fairmont, WV
- A group of Chef Jay’s students from Pierpont
- Athena Freedlander, Beverage Director of Sargasso in Morgantown, WV
And stay tuned here next week for a follow-up blog with pictures from the dinner!
Until then, Stay Fresh!