This week, we welcome Brian Elliot from The Bards of Yellow Wood to the blog. The market has had a big impact on Brian and his family and has helped them grow in ways they didn’t expect.
Historically, I wouldn’t describe myself as a plant person. I’m more at home in the pages of a book than tucked in amongst the leaves. My wife Mary would likely say the same thing about herself. Although we both had parents who attempted to grow their own food, the impulse hadn’t really taken root in their progeny. But unbeknownst to us, the seed was planted about seven years ago.
One hot June (or July, who can remember?) morning Mary and I decided to check out the Farmer’s market we had heard rumblings about. Immediately we were enthralled with the food selections, and the wonderful, warm atmosphere, and It quickly became our lunch destination on Sundays. We would buy meat, perhaps some local crafts, but once again steered clear of anything green and leafy.
That changed when I became part of the market as one of the Bards of Yellow Wood. Daniel and I grew something larger, and more rewarding than we had ever intended. To date we’ve gotten thousands of books, and nearly One Thousand Dollars in donations from the generous people of North Central West Virginia. This little project has born more fruit than we could have possibly imagined.
But perhaps more importantly, having a strong connection with the market has sparked the need to grow in both myself and my wife. It began a few years ago when we planted two or three plants. I believe that first year it was just a tomato plant and some rhubarb. And each year the little garden has grown. We’ve modified our landscaping to accommodate even more plants, including an updated stone planter attached to our patio.
My wife has really taken to flowers. She is particularly interested in her Gladiolus, but we have a small bed of flowers blooming happily along the side of our house. On the other side we’re working on some blueberries. But perhaps my favorite plants are the tomato plants. Some of which I was given by one of my students, Grover Grafton, who sells his hard work at the market. I’ll be honest, I don’t like tomatoes. What I do like is the feeling of knowing that my hard work went into growing them, that some bit of sustenance and nutrition that my son takes in comes from the sweat of my own brow.
And I suppose that’s the best part about shopping at the market. Knowing and being able to shake hands with the person who worked so hard to produce the food you are eating, seeing with your own eyes that your money is going to help good, honest people rather than soulless corporations. And that spirit is what is driving my family to draw green up from the ground, to provide a safe haven and food source for local bees, and for my son to understand that there is honor and beauty in being able to get the soil to yield what you want it to. The delight that can be derived from a truly symbiotic relationship with our Earth.