Go Help Farmer Vicki Who Needs Your Help
My younger daughter claims that it was her relationship with “Farmer Vicki” Westerhoff that led us into this whole eat local escapade. She is not mostly accurate in this, but her introduction of Vicki to me changed the character of buying at the Oak Park Farmer’s Market, making the leap to locavore easier. Farmer Vicki made fast friends with the Hatch School kids, where she took time from her busy farm schedule to connect the children to the land. Much became from that little friendship.
We became, I shall say better, customers of Farmer Vicki after being introduced by Sophia. We not only bought regularly from her booth at the Oak Park (and Green City Markets), but we enrolled in her CSAs. We bought Spring, Summer and Fall, and when the CSA pipeline shut down, we still got deliveries on the side. We also bought one time, 1/4th of Vicki’s then heard of two cows (which we still own a tiny bit of). As noted on the Local Beet, for financial reasons, we ended the CSA this year. I still go weekly to the Genesis Grower’s corner in Oak Park. It is my first choice for vegetables, and I especially like their peppers, herbs, rocket and other salad greens.
Being part of the CSA put you in the Genesis Grower’s Family. You heard weekly about life on the farm, but you also heard about her Mother, who’s suffered a bit of the health concerns of the aging, and you heard of the sons, one with some issues, the other who balanced college with farm. Each week’s email we got the soap opera of farm life, a pump not working; too much rain, too little rain, too hot, too cold; rabbits getting to the greens, other pests doing their work unseen. If you thought farm life was hard, try reading these tales. Yet, Farmer Vicki maintained an amazing spirit, introducing so many new ones in the joys of local living. The biggest plus of CSA ownership was the chance to farm party with her, her family, and her crew.
This Saturday the chance is not for farm party. It’s the chance to help. I miss my CSA. I do not miss the delicious Genesis Grower’s foods, which I market buy. I miss those emails. I missed completely the fact that she had a tornado down on the farm. I knew from a bare stand a few weeks ago, that it’s been a tough season. Farming around here is built on April showers bringing summer bounty. By now, it’s supposed to be sunny and hot and not really that wet. This much weather, this time of year is not what the doctor ordered. It’s been tough. The tornado made it tougher. It is especially hard now, to keep up with the weeds. Because Farmer Vicki has been an organic farmer, she has no easy way to rid her fields of excess weeds. She needs hands and able bodies to get out their with hoes. She’s asking all to come by this Saturday, July 10th, to take to her fields. Slow Food Chicago is leading the way, meeting ahead of time at Southport Grocery, 3552 N. Southport, Chicago. See you there.