There is a story on the front page today about the opening day of the DeKalb County Farmers Market at the VFW Fairgrounds. The market opens Tuesday afternoon at 3 and market manager Grady Dalton said he is expecting at least 10 to 12 local growers to show up. I had the pleasure of meeting Grady and DeKalb County Commission President Ricky Harcrow Thursday morning for breakfast at Hardee’s. Grady treated me and Ricky to a wonderful breakfast and an even better time with friendly conversation. Although I have known Grady my entire life, Thursday was my first time getting to talk to him about the DeKalb County Farmers Market, which he and many others invest so much time in. Grady is a farmer, and does his share of growing, but I could tell that he was passionate about providing all the other growers of DeKalb County with a place to sell their goods and a place for cus-tomers to buy them.
I have never thought of myself as having a green thumb, but the truth is I actually can plant and grow anything our environment will support. My problem is not with the planting, but rather with the maintaining. If there is such a thing as flowers and vegetables that thrive off of neglect– then I’d have the two greenest thumbs around. I simply do not have the dedication it takes to grow and nurture plants and flowers. I either overwater or underwater everything I ever put in the soil. I forget to tend to the delicate flowers and I usually mow over anything in my yard that is not within the boarders of the landscaping. I’m lucky that my livelihood is not dependent on the weather or my ability to grow and produce a harvest. The farm life is not for me, and it probably never will be.
Knowing what I do about the failures and success of growing, I can honestly say that our farmers are the ones who keep all of us going. I love our farmers and I am so thankful for them. Their dedication to their work is truly amazing and I admire them for it. A farmer’s day starts before the sun comes up and it ends long after the moon lights up the night sky. They are dependent on the weather for the majority of their harvest’s success, and their work schedule is 365 days a year. Farmers can’t neglect their crops like I neglect my succulents. They can’t have a successful harvest on prayers alone. They have to work for everything they produce, and for the vast majority, what they produce goes to someone other than them. They literally work day in and day out to feed a nation. I can honestly say that I am completely dependent on our farmers, and I am reminded of that every time I catch a glimpse of my wilted ferns and dried up hosta. But, just because I can’t grow a juicy, red tomato or a plump cantaloupe doesn’t mean I don’t like to eat them.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are one of my favorite things about this time of year. So, needless to say, I will be doing my share of shopping at the DeKalb County Farmers Market this summer on Tuesdays and Fridays. I’d like to encourage you all to do the same.
Grady and the other men and women work hard to organize this local market for us, and I know the growers work hard regardless. So, please join me in supporting the men and women with the truly green thumbs who feed DeKalb County and this hungry nation we call home.
I’ll see you all at the market.
— Kayla Beaty is the managing editor of the Times-Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.