Sometimes it hurts…
Much of the joy we receive from farming is in the connections we have with our customers/members and the other businesses that make CVSF go. At each delivery, we get to talk with our extended farm family. Usually, we hear about yummy dishes made with our meats and good words about our eggs. Sometimes, there’s a comment about something we’ve shared of our farm or lives in a newsletter or on our face book page. Rather than loading our animals on a truck for some distant commodity market and that being the end of our story, our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) business model allows us to complete the circle and connect with our eaters. Farming the way we do make us happy, the many allies we have make us wealthy.
Last night’s delivery was bittersweet. Linda, a long-time member (When I say that Linda is a long-time member, I mean that Linda - and her husband Bill – joined our vegetable CSA in our first season nearly ten years ago. They’ve remained stalwart supporters ever since. They’ve cooked out with us by our creek, and we’ve pot-lucked with them at another member’s home. We’ve shared our lives and they’ve shared ours), was picking up her share after missing her last couple of scheduled deliveries. We learned that Linda had lost her Bill several weeks ago.
When Linda walked in to pick up her share, I gave her a hug and told her how sorry Beth and I were for her loss. She told me it had been a hard day – lots of memories of Bill. We spoke some more and talked inevitably of food. Linda told me that, for a while, she hadn’t done any cooking. It was an activity she and Bill did together. Recently, a friend whose son wanted to learn to cook reached out to Linda. For the past couple of weeks, Linda and this young man have gotten together to cook dishes with our meats; teaching cooking, she has found comfort and connection with our food. In a small way, our work has helped comfort a grieving friend. This makes me proud. I’m sad, but proud.
Today, Beth is on her way to Arthur, IL to pick up frozen chickens we’ve stored in a meat locker there since the end of our pasture season. While she’s there she will stop in to Central Illinois Poultry Processing to offer our condolences to Andy Jess and his family. This winter, Vera Jess died unexpectedly. We’ve grown to know the Jesses as they have processed our chickens for going on six years. Andy and Vera founded the Illinois’ first and only poultry processing plant that can do certified organic processing. The Jess’s hard work and attention to detail allow small, sustainable, and organic poultry growers across Illinois – and neighboring states to offer the best and most humanely processed chickens possible. The Jess’s business makes our business possible. We thank them, and mourn their loss.
Connections are important and enrich our lives, but sometimes they hurt, too. Rest in peace Vera and Bill; you are missed!