This week’s CSA harvest includes:
Assorted Bell Peppers
Thai Hot Peppers
It is amazing that August is just around the corner. We have already started counting down the days to the first frost, as we try to figure out what we can still get in the ground that will have enough time to grow to maturity. Around here we frequently spend our time looking forward– the next harvest, crops to plant and where to plant them, plans for the restaurant, etc. We are continuously working hard with a strong image of the future. But at times it can be equally valuable to look back. Look back at what we have accomplished in the last two years as a farm, but also look back at what those before us have done in the field.
Farming depends on so many factors, many of which we can’t control. We have no say over how much it rains or doesn’t rain, but we can work hard to learn as much as we can about those things that are within our power. This is when looking back becomes particularly important. So much of farming relies on a certain type of knowledge that is cultivated through an intimate relationship with the land; an innate way of knowing what the plants and animals need and also when they need it. People spend their whole lives accumulating this knowledge and then passing it down to the next generation.
The shared wisdom and support of the agricultural community is a fundamental part of farming. Looking back gives us the chance to show gratitude to all of those people who have shared their time and wisdom with us. Dave and Karen Barron are some of those people who have been monumental in this process. Dave has shared both his time and his land to help cultivate us into better farmers. His mistakes and successes from a lifetime of farming have helped our plunge into the world of agriculture to be a little less daunting.
The relationship between the Barron’s and Epiphany Farms Enterprise, at that time just Ken, began in 2003 at the Downs Farmer’s Market. Ken was visiting home, on a vacation from culinary school in New York, when he struck up a conversation with Dave about his interest in farming and food. Dave proceeded to invite Ken back to his farm, where the seed of Epiphany Farms was planted. At the Barron’s Ken had his first interaction with a potato plant; learned how onions grow; and shucked his first ear of corn. Through this encounter the idea of Epiphany Farms Enterprise, a restaurant supplied by its own farm, began to blossom.
Freshly graduated from UNLV Ken moved home to Downs, IL and jumped into the Epiphany Farms concept accompanied by Mustard. They just started planting things, not quite realizing what they were getting themselves into. Very quickly they realized they were in over their heads, but Ken knew where to turn. After five years without a word from Ken, Dave and Karen welcomed them into their home and proceeded to spend the evening explaining when and where to plant things. From that point forward the Barron’s have been Epiphany Farms’ go to for knowledge on all things agriculture.
During the 2009 growing season we set up shop next to the Barron’s at the Downs Farmer’s Market, where the connection first began. Wednesday’s became a day of anticipation, an opportunity to pick Dave’s mind and learn from his wisdom. As time progressed Dave became more than just a mentor, but a partner to Epiphany Farms Enterprise. We are constantly grateful for his dedication to our vision. He helped plant that first seed, and when it eventually germinated he has been there to help us grow.