We received a letter from the Martin Family in Englewood, TN, one of our largest produce growers, to share with our members. We hope you enjoy a glimpse into their life and farm as we have gotten to know them over the last few years. You’ll learn about the reasons they started their farm here in TN and the whys of their practice of being chemical free.
Greetings from The Martin Family Farm,
Recently Nate asked if we would be willing to share a glimpse of our life with the members of Weekly Fig. My ready answer was, Yes! I would love to do that. So how did we arrive at a nice farm here in East TN, and growing organic crops for Weekly Fig? After spending the first ten years of our married life on a farm in Rich Hill MO, where we grew produce for high end stores in Kansas City, we relocated to this community in 2011. Like I said we were growing high quality fresh vegetables for Hen House Markets in the Kansas City area, and they wanted produce that was perfect in appearance but did not care how we grew it. The only way to have unblemished vegetables is to spray to control insects and disease. We were raising a family as well and when my wife Ruth started having health issues, we had to choose a course. Would we continue what we were doing and go to the conventional Medical establishment for help or was there a better way? After deliberating over this question we chose the alternative health care route that looked to find answers for our problems by addressing the cause rather than the symptoms.
So we educated ourselves in health care we also started to see that what we were doing as farmers was not where we wanted to stay. We did not want to continue to blast our crops with toxic chemicals that left me with a headache and the need to tell our children, “Do not go in that field, it was sprayed.” “Do not eat those cherry tomatoes, they were sprayed.” What was I doing anyhow by dousing the crops that we wanted to eat ourselves with such toxic concoctions? Why was I selling that kind of food to others? What started as a question developed into a conviction that there must be a better way. And praise God there IS a better way!
So when we moved onto this farm in 2011 it was with the plan that it was to be a chemical free zone that will be friendly to all of us living on it, to all the living creatures, and also a source of food for others that wanted to bless their bodies with life-giving nutritious food. It has been an interesting journey but also very rewarding. There was much to learn including an altogether different way of looking at farming. In conventional farming, pests and diseases are seen as enemies that must be killed. In organic farming, we partner with nature to help it do wha it was created to do – to feed us with life-giving nutritious food. Yes, there will be times when we lose some of our crops, but as we take care of creation as God intended, God is so faithful in blessing us with plenty of food and much joy in raising it in a way that honors Him.
We are intent on growing more than just food, we want it to be good food for the family that we are growing. We are blessed with nine children each one contributing to the familyness of the farm. Raymond, our eldest son does much to manage the crops, taking special interest n soil biology and producing healthy crops both in the hothouses and outside in the fields. His diligent care has brought you much good food including the early cucumbers you enjoyed. Alvin is next in line and he does much to get the field prepared for planting by tilling, plowing and cultivating. He loves working with the horses as well as caring for our other livestock. Milking his cow, raising hogs and sheep for fresh meat for customers that come to our farm for fresh milk.
Marlin is the one that takes care of the chickens that are on free range grass, and it sis also him that cares for our flock of homing pigeons. Each week he selects two or three to go with the Weekly Fig van, and then that weekend they return to us with the order for the veggies that you want in your box the next week.
Maachah helps with the milking and his handy with cheese making and loves studying natural health care and learning what herbs are good for different ailments. She is a ready hand at the all natural salves and creams that we make to sell at the farm market.
Laura loves cooking, mowing the yard, and is also the one that picks fresh herbs for the market each morning and for Weekly Fig on Tuesday mornings. She takes a healthy interest along with Maacha to not only feed us, but to feed us with real food in its natural goodness, without adulterating it with sugar and other toxic junk.
Jerome is pretty much good for everything from running errands to pitching hay bales. He teams up with Alvin caring for the animals and will ride a horse to cultivate the crops with Marlin. And he is only eleven years old, but how would we do without him? From there on down we have George, Sharon, and Paul-being the youngest at age four. They are Moms helpers doing the many little tasks that only get noticed once they are not done. Now for the hub of the wheel, the one that helps me hold things together and keeps in all rolling, we must bring my wife, Ruth,right into the center of it all. Raising a family of nine is no small job, and we owe much gratitude to her for all she has done for the family. And while I am no glad that she needed to get sick, I am that glad that we needed to re-evaluate our course, and could choose a better way because of that. Her recovery has not been rapid, but it is real and in a good way.
Albert Martin Family