Looking for asparagus…

Set out this weekend solo (my cohort enjoyed himself immensely on a much needed kayak trip on a local river. I also forgot to contact him, sorry Dan) to find some local produce stands in Northern Ohio. No GPS or maps just drive. Our weather is finally turning for the better. Trees are pushing beautiful flowers. Lawns getting their first hair cuts. Couples on their front porch sipping that first cup of coffee. Farm tractors, bicyclist, & runners are diligently sharing the road ways with vehicles. Oh I love this time of year! Windows are down and nature is singing to me every single mile. Doesn’t matter if I am on asphalt, concrete, or a dirt road, my senses are filled with absolute excitement.

First stop was unsuccessful. Joyce’s Farm Market closed for business. No power meter was my second clue… On a very busy road and in a excellent location too. The mornings weather is beautiful and my coffee is still warm, going to press on.

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Jumped on US-20 somewhere between Sylvania and Swanton, OH and headed West. Took a couple side roads along the way to take in the gentle rolling landscape and barns. Seen a couple road side signs pointing me off the highway for green houses, orchards, and nurseries. Everyone was busy making final touches before opening either this week or shortly after mothers day weekend. Today I’m set on road side produce stands and farmers markets.

Second stop also closed for business. O’Neil’s Farm Market & Greenhouse. The tractor tires and farm implements piled in front was a very obvious clue that they did not plan on selling fresh local produce. We are in the beginnings of fresh asparagus right now and I really planned on taking some home today.

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Two more locations with the same result. Closed. Suddenly the post I keep seeing on Facebook popped in my head. “When you buy these types of products at a grocery store or chain restaurant you are helping a CEO buy a new boat… When you buy these products at a local farmers market you are helping a family pay a mortgage, or a student pay for college…” I am actually witnessing that post right in front of my eyes.

While heading home with no fresh asparagus, I started to daydream that Produce At Last will provide new hope to the small guys on the side of the road. That we have a choice. We can ignore or make small changes in our daily life to help local family farmers. (I’m by no means a farmer. The only experience on my resume would say “Baled hay once” and it was not an easy task.) Of course ignore would be the easier of the two. And slowly those beautiful barns on our country side will fall helplessly to the ground. Road side produce stands will be sparse and you will be forced to pay what CEO’s decide you should pay. Or make small changes in our daily life. Take a different route home, get in touch with the country side and stop as they say to smell the roses. AKA buy some local produce, eat healthier, have a small conversation with someone that works the soil we call Earth for a living, put a smile on the farmers face and I bet yours too, take a friend a parent a child your pet, & get out to discover your roots! After small changes it will become habit. Your habit will provide a new indescribable happiness. Trust me on that, because it has happen to me and hundreds of thousands before me.

I’ll end on the above positive note! And if anyone knows of some fresh asparagus in South East Michigan please let us know!!! Don’t forget to e-mail us at [email protected] Let us know if you have a favorite produce stand that we should visit.

Cheers,

Mark Spina

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