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Working wonders with a little bit of acreage

Having recently re-read A Thousand Acres, by Jane Smiley, I was struck by how hard it is to be a farmer: the impossibly long days of physical labor, the whims of weather, the variable prices for harvest yields, the struggle to decide whether to farm organically or to go with the mainstream approach with chemical pesticides, fertilizers and the "bigger is better" mentality.

So it was with delight that I read two features about local families farming organically in the Oregonian this past week:

Both families are heroes in that they are bucking trends. They are younger than the average farmer, working on a smaller scale, and of course going it organic. They acknowledge the gamble of what they are doing. Throwing all their assets into the farm, and well as their time and energies. Kookoolan Farms sells their eggs, chickens and other products at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market, so we've met them, bought their products and have written glowingly about Kookoolan here before. The Ponds have yet to bring their berries to market. But I have high hopes for them.

I'm sure you sometimes wander the grocery store aisles, and buy things thinking that it's a good, low price. And then you wander the rows of the farmers' market, and again, look for the best prices. And wonder to yourself if it's worth that much... Well, it is. The farmers work hard and deserve our money. When we shop at grocery stores, the farmers are only getting pennies of each dollar we spend. At the farmers' markets, they get it all. And they deserve it! OK. Done preaching to the choir now.

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