Summer 2019 Issue
Each spring, with the winds of March, I get the brash idea to turn my backyard into a full-on mini-farm. I picture obedient rows. Organic strawberries. Defiant stalks of rhubarb, weighty summer tomatoes.
In April, I remember the rabbits and the raccoons. The families of deer. The bugs I can’t name. The threat of August and its scorching heat. The fact that I can barely keep alive the cactus on my kitchen windowsill. And always my wise husband reminds me that Dreyer Farms is right there, within walking distance, growing and selling strawberries, rhubarb, weighty summer tomatoes.
I am always shocked that the chives on my porch, which wintered in neglect in a broken clay pot, somehow stretch, brilliantly green, to the sun. In midsummer, I am always stunned that my limelight hydrangeas actually bloom. It’s a seasonal miracle, made no less miraculous by the fact that it is pervasive.
In this, our annual Farm Issue, we celebrate those who create miracles as their day jobs.
The Binaghi family of Stokes Farm in Old Tappan, see page 60, continues to run a family farm that dates to 1873; the farm was one of the founding farms, in 1976, of Greenmarket in New York City. Talk about adapting! The Savoie family farm in Williamstown is run by a wife (who is a former research scientist) and a husband (who is a former Naval submariner) who decided to return to their farming roots, and are passing along pasta-making traditions to their children. That story is on page 36.
We also write about Jersey City, which has eight farmers’ markets citywide, each with a distinct personality, see page 30. And, on page 41, we include our comprehensive list of farmers’ markets statewide.
Farmers and gardeners, I have learned, are often humble. Two years ago, I asked Hilary Hale, a woodturner in Kinsale, Ireland, her secrets to the art of gardening. She seemed perplexed by the question.
“Really you just live in a place where it rains a lot.”