Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday Motivation: Why I Farm Roadtrip Week 32

As the momentum of the Why I Farm Roadtrip continues, the pace gets faster and faster. Over the last month, I had to take a step back from other commitments, including this blog, to make sure I was turning around farmers' stories as fast as I could. Now that I'm caught up, I'm glad to be back sharing my reflections and experiences. I've really missed having this outlet to post about people and places I want to remember.

With Christmas rapidly approaching and the end of 2016 just around the corner, I'm well beyond the half way mark of this adventure. I say this all the time, but it's hard to believe how quickly this experience has flown. As I travel, I notice how each farmer leaves their own mark, shaping my outlook. Here are a few I'm thinking about this week:

New Jersey farmer: Bea Tassot
“I think farming is just something that’s in your genes. I mean really, I’m sincere about this. My husband has dedicated his life to this. We are running a 400 beehive operation in Milford, New Jersey. It’s really my husband’s job. He’s been a bee keeper since he was five years old in France. He learned bee keeping from his great uncle in Burgundy. We came from a big city, Paris, but it was always in his mind, ‘That’s what I want to do one day.’ We were very lucky. We have a gorgeous farm. I would not trade this to go back to a city, not at all. It is so peaceful. Each night you just sit out on your deck and it’s just silence. It’s green and you have the animals, it’s beautiful.” -Bea Tassot of Tassot Apiaries Inc. / Buzzing Acres Farm in Milford, New Jersey

New Hampshire farmer: Alicia Pedemonti
"After college, I came back home to the farm and started trying to envision how I wanted it to be. That was a really emotional decision for me to make. Farming and raising pigs in particular was something I always did with my dad. So going back really took a lot of thought. I remember the first Pork Producers meeting I went to after college, after he had died. It was really emotional. I kind of sat in the parking lot before, unsure if I was going to go in. And then the drive home was a lot of self-reflection, talking aloud to my dad, and very emotional. It was such a big part of my relationship with him and my life growing up, I knew it was something I needed to continue and I really wanted to. I was starting to look ahead, so in my early 20s I knew having kids wasn’t too far off. I wanted to make sure I was trying to create the lifestyle and image that would be something my children could be a part of, because I know how important it was to me growing up and I wanted them to have that same experience." -Alicia Pedemonti, pig farmer of Hopkinton, New Hampshire

Wisconsin farmer: Matt Rezin
"I’m an Ocean Spray cranberry grower. I’m actually an 8th generation grower and my cranberry marsh, my great-great grandpa started it back in 1931. We’ve been growing cranberries since 1886. It’s kind of in my blood so I just keep doing it. For me, it’s not a job. It’s more of a lifestyle. My kids are out there working with me. I’m still working with my dad. My grandpa is 86 years old. He’s still out on the marsh, I’m still working with him. It’s a family ordeal. My grandma is still out there doing stuff. My mom gets out there and helps harvest. It’s huge – family. The thing with the cranberry industry, a lot of the marshes and bogs around here, we’re all related. We’re all cousins. So we’re going over to other people’s marshes and saying hi and helping out here if they need that or borrowing equipment if they need equipment. I love what I do." -Matt Rezin of Warrens, Wisconsin

As I think about these three farmers, I'm challenged to find beauty in my surroundings, follow my calling even when it requires tough decisions, and be thankful for my family. I hope their stories challenge you to do the same. Happy Monday! Thanks for reading!

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