Saturday, September 05, 2009

Family saves farm by selling restaurants specialty produce, says it can be done anywhere

"Losing the family farm is a familiar story. Getting it back less so," Christine Muhlke writes for The New York Times. "Once Marty Travis’s family was finally able to piece together its 179-year-old farm, buying back the homestead and its parcel of land that was sold by his grandmother and slated for developers, the intention was to rebuild the dilapidated buildings. But over the last decade, Marty and his wife, Kris, have restored not only the farmhouse but the farming community in Fairbury, Ill.," 100 miles southwest of Chicago.

The Travises never intended to be farmers, but now they sell "produce that is obscure or nearly extinct to Chicago’s best restaurants," such as ramps, pawpaws, Galapagos tomatoes, popping sorghum, Kickapoo beans (handed down from an Indian chief), white Iroquois corn and radish seed pods, Muhlke reports. (Times photo by David LaSpina: Marty Travis and son Will harvest squash blossoms)

The Travises have organized "a group of 25 farm families who sell to the local grocery store and to Chicago restaurants via the Travises. Most members are under 18," Muhlke writes. Marty told her, "Every community across the country could be doing this." (Read more) Thanks to our friend Wendell Berry for pointing out this story; well, not really; see coment below.

1 comment:

brtom said...

Yes, sir, it's quite a hopeful story. Thanks for spreading it through your blog.

I'd like to clarify one little thing, though. You thank Wendell Berry for pointing it out. Perhaps you know Mr. Berry and he did point it out to you, but if you discovered the story through the Facebook "Wendell Berry" page, please note that Mr. Berry himself has nothing to do with it ... nor do I, Br. Tom. I find these things and post them to my blog Mr Wendell Berry of Kentucky and then someone posts them to the Facebook page. I say this just to make it very clear that Mr. Berry (famously uninterested in computers) has NOT finally "sold out, given in, or given up" and gone online. All the best to you, sir.