I had occasionally stopped at the Sweetbriar farmstand, but had never had a chance to see the land that produced the food I was eating. Doug and Tamara met Robert (the photographer) and myself at the foodstand, and then walked us back to their rows and rows of vegetables.
They talked about how fertile the land is, and how thrilled they are to be able to farm it. They showed us the low hoop house method they use to grow their delicious tomatoes, and Tamara explained that they plant phacelia, a plant with beautiful purple flowers, near their “brassicas” (which includes cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, etc.) to keep away the aphids. This way, they do not need to use any sprays on those plants. I tried a leaf of their amazing New Zealand Spinach, and they offered us some of their fantastic strawberries.
I also had the opportunity to try out their weeding contraption, referred to as a wheel hoe, which was surprisingly fun and simple! The trick was to skim it along near the top of the earth, so that it didn’t get bogged down in the dirt. I certainly needed some practice at it, but it was extremely satisfying to watch the weeds disappear behind me!
Robert and I, also, got to witness another fun tool, The Hatfield Planter, that Doug and Tamara use for putting baby plants into the ground. It was quite easy, and it got the job done in no time at all.
I enjoyed hearing about how members of the community help Doug and Tamara out on Fridays. They talked about how much they enjoy having folks come throughout the day, often to help pick vegetables or help out in other fun ways.