So, this is a random post in the middle of a Wednesday…I’m sitting with projects piled up around me but I know…KNOW…that it is important that I share this message with all of you.
Today is the day our veggie co-op resumes. This will be our SIXTH season sharing fresh veggies with our community. SIX!!!
Somehow, six years ago, I convinced my loving husband to let me open a little veggie co-op that I originally named Cypress Family Farm to Kitchen. (We are now the Farm to Kitchen Collective!!!)
We carried that crazy name for a long time and I still love it…it speaks to everything I care about:
My home and community in Cypress; Family and Friends; Small Farms; Inspired kitchens.
At the time, I had no clue how one little idea could impact my life in such an extraordinary way. I don’t even remember who I was before all of this started. But, I remember each person and every experience along the way. Honestly, our members and their families are the core of our co-op.
The Power of Supporting Small Farms
So, it started with creating a connection between the farmers and the community.
I saw a HUGE gap between the work the farmers were doing and the message to the people….there wasn’t one….and, I couldn’t find anyone with the message.
So, I decided to figure it out on my own. I knew I needed to find a certain number of people to hit a minimum for a farmer to be able to quit the market and sell to my group.
The Power of People
So, I assembled a group and we got started. I would place an order based on availability, weekly veggies would show up, we would package them, people would pick them up and we would repeat week after week. I created a little page on FB and the message grew.
Early on, we caught the eye of a firecracker named Dorothy. I remember her jumping up and down at the end of my driveway proclaiming “I cannot believe that I am 86 years old today!!!”
She understood what it was to support local farmers. As a matter of fact, she found me because she could not get to the farmer’s markets on her own any longer but she LOVED her veggies and she LOVED small farmers.
She was my people- we became fast friends.
The Power of Inspiration
Over the years, I got to know about Dorothy- her life, her horse, her career as a teacher…her friends and neighbors.
I would be lying if I told you I didn’t have doubts along this path. It is not always easy to run a not for profit. We are a team of volunteers who pour our hearts, souls and pocketbooks into running this little organization. I have experienced peaks and valleys and the road has sometimes been rocky.
But, I couldn’t imagine letting down the little 86 year old who loaded up in her white corolla each week wearing her handmade dresses and hiking boots…ready to see what Mother Nature would bring her this Wednesday.
The Power of Locally Grown Vegetables
Dorothy and I shared a love of vegetables.
When her favorite veg would arrive on the scene, she would clasp her hands and gasp with enthusiasm.
(I think we ALL get a little excited when we see the butternut squash after a long, hot summer, don’t we? If only we could all develop Dorothy’s appreciation for the hands that grew it!!!)
When the Cypress traffic became too much for the 2 mile drive, Dorothy found a way to get here each and every week.
To share the veggie love and to support our purpose.
Dorothy’s co-op companion was Martha, one of her previous GRADE SCHOOL STUDENTS and loving neighbors. They would roll up, excited to see the weekly harvest, share stories about the week and ALWAYS provide support, inspiration and encouraging words.
Over the years, some of our co-op members got to know this magical duo, donating carrot and beet tops to Dorothy’s horse Nicky.
(I can just see her feeding that horse those greens with her classical music blaring in the background telling him about the nice lady who donated those tops for his dinner.)
The Power of Plants & Healing the Earth
After the outbreak of COVID, Martha became our primary connection to Dorothy. Together, they reminded me the importance of growing my own backyard garden and being a good steward of the land. I promised to come and interview this fascinating woman who I saw as a pioneer in supporting the ‘local farm movement.’
As you may have guessed, Dorothy passed during our co-op break.
I wanted to find a way to honor this beautiful soul and share a little inspiration with our returning members this week. When I learned Aloe is to be gifted to those who you wish to give luck, spiritual upliftment and healing power, I knew I had the answer.
The Power of Aloe
This week, each member is receiving a pup from my aloe. Of course, I sent a ‘Momma’ pup with Martha.
Aloe is believed to bring protective spiritual energies to draw good luck and healing.
Aloe is a natural anti-inflammatory, wound healer and immune supporter. It is effective in repairing damaged tissue from burns, bruising, acne, dermatitis, herpes sores, rashes, mouth ulcers and sore throats.
To repot your aloe, find the PERFECT pot use fill with cactus/ succulent soil.
Spritz with water until damp. Continue to spritz every week or as needed.
My wish is that this resilient plant inspires you to be part of the collective good. May it bring you healing, protection and the comfort in knowing you are supported by a large, healing community!
For the love of Plants & Community,