By Russ Cerocke, Farm Manager
I’ve been told that one’s wedding is likely to be one of the happiest days of their lives. I was doubtful, but this weekend I learned that for Melissa and I, this will certainly hold true! From vows about changing my dirty farm pants more often, and growing a healthy life on a healthy foundation, to a wonderfully prepared plant-forward dinner, and shutting it down with a barn-burning dance party fueled by the love and energy of our farm crew and friends. This was truly a night to remember! I have to thank all of our friends and supporters for helping us to do our work, without you this night would not have been the same. The people, the atmosphere, the barn, all of this here at McDonald Farm exists because of the love and support from this community for the past 20-plus years, it is truly an amazing story!
The most amazing thing about this story, and what became very apparent to Melissa and I last weekend, was that it surely takes a team to do amazing things. Without the help of Lindsey, working as a florist, wedding planner, and farm crew member, this would have been a completely different experience. Her help and advice made this night so much more magical! Anne, from our farm crew, baked some of the most delicious cookies the world has ever known, and supplied us with a special request for wedding pies, because we don’t really like cake, and it was all fantastic! Sheryl helped to clear some space as we set up for the special evening, and Dan K, one of our star volunteers even came out when the rain stopped to fill potholes in the driveway. There were helpers cleaning out the native landscapes, children’s gardens, and gathering holiday décor for at least a week leading up to the event too, thank you Nancy and garden team! It was certainly a team effort, the likes of which I had never experienced…. Or had I?
While reflecting on our little shindig last weekend, it became very apparent that teamwork is not just for weddings. Teamwork is at the heart of every human activity. Even an artist, expressing oneself personally, needs a population to appreciate their expressions. Roads, bridges, cities, gourmet meals, concerts, all of these things rely on people working together to do something more amazing than any one of those people could have done themselves, which may be what being a human is all about. You may see where I am going with this, but if not, I’ll give you a hint…. Farming is no different.
Here, at Mcdonald Farm, it takes a team of staff, volunteers, and community supporters to keep this ship sailing. No joke. Everyone involved in our farm plays a key part in our being here. From the wise guidance of our board and management, to the long days put in by the farm crew, and the volunteer shifts that are readily filled, every single person, plant, and animal is integral in making this place what it is right now.
During the coming months however, this place will rest, and so shall we. Every team needs a time to rest and rebuild, to some it is a brief halftime, for us, it is the winter season. Today, we find that the tomato trellis has been pulled and cleared, as the frosts have called the plants home to rest. Our root crops are nearly cleared from the field, being topped and washed daily to be ready for winter storage. Fall cover crops have begun to emerge, and our summer fields are going to rest. Lettuce and other cold tolerant crops like kale, collards, scallions, cauliflower and cabbage are all that remain outside, trying their best to mature before the real cold sets in. The squash that took months to grow during the summer, has been cleared and put up in just a few weeks, already finding its way into your homes and bellies. From planting onion trays on Fat Tuesday this February, to the coming planting of the garlic, it has been quite the season. All that was accomplished here has taken many hands and many minds to make all it all possible. Michael Jordan was certainly a star player, but he would have never won those championships alone. Nor could any one of us run this farm alone, it takes a team. The people I work with here, and the people I serve in our community, are the best team one could ask for.
So, for being a part of not only the happiest day of our lives, but potentially the best years of them, we thank you, for playing your part on this all-star team! Together we can do anything, we can change our world for the better. Every day, and every decision we make to live healthy lives, and to support the health of those around us, makes our world better moment by moment. Please remember, none of us can exist in a vacuum, we need our family, friends, and neighbors to be able to live a full, healthy, and beautiful life. Here’s to moving forward, together!