Forecaster Forum: To 'know your farmer' is to live better

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I saw a new bumper sticker on a car at the Falmouth Shopping Center today. It said, “Know your farmer.” And for the first time, I can say I do.

Kathy supplies me with potatoes and cabbage and mini McIntosh apples. No longer is she just the bundled-up body under the “Valley View Farm” sign at the farmers market. Underneath all that wool is a warm-hearted person whom I met at a potluck supper Saturday night.

Turns out that two years ago, when I went on a two-week guided tour of Tuscany, she was there for a month, working four hours a day on a farm to earn her keep and touring the rest of the day under a scheme called “agriturismo.”

Kay supplies me with free-range eggs for breakfast, herbed goat cheese for hors d’oeuvres and chocolate milk for our grandchildren. No longer is she just the woman under the Spring Brook Farm sign who relieves me of my egg boxes when they pile up by our back door. She’s the stylish silver-haired person behind us in the potluck line who knows Roger Knight of Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook.

Farmers turned into friends the last Saturday in January, when the Congregational Church in Cumberland Center showed the movie “Fresh.” The movie visits diversified family farms and monoculture corporate farms around the United States and compares them. I cast my vote for family farms.

The church Green Team invited real, live farmers to come to the screening, and they brought real, fresh produce with them for show and tell, including smooth duck eggs too big to close the box-tops. We chowed down roasted winter veggies and quiche and venison stew, and I wondered why I don’t eat fresh all the time.

I could, of course. But it takes some organizing to get to the farmers market in Falmouth on Wednesday noons, or Gray or Brunswick on Saturday mornings. After seeing “Fresh,” I understand better why the effort is worth it. Now that I know my farmer, seeing friends is an added reason to go.

Besides, the Mason jars are spilling out of my pantry, and I need to pass them on to the beekeeper to fill with honey in the summer.

Susan Gilpin lives in Falmouth.