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JOURNAL #11 FARMING DURING A PANDEMIC June 5, 2020

Posted 6/5/2020 4:10pm by Esther.

Journal #11 - 6/1/20  

My daughter, Adina, after I mentioned Hudson Lee and Laruen Mazza’s visit to the farm this last weekend with their amazing 4 month- old son, Hudson Michael, suggested I write up their story.  

Four years ago, Lauren, who was in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, was visited by her friend, Kyla, who worked on our farm. Kyla was in East Africa off season (climbed Kilimanjaro with her father!) and during her visit with Lauren, persuaded her to apply to work on our farm. 

In another part of the world, Hudson saw the ad for farmworkers and answered our ad for farm staff.  Since we are a worker-run farm, the staff (then just Charmaine and Justin), selected them both as the new staff along with one other person.  They arrived at the farm, Lauren thought Hudson was “hot”, and we’re not sure, but Hudson must have been smitten immediately because as the season progressed, they “clicked” and as they say, the rest is history.  

Their relationship extended beyond the end of the farm season and they moved together to New Jersey where Hudson worked at a door factory and Lauren in a nursing home.  After being away from the farm for a full season, they contacted Charmaine and asked if they could come back for the season.  Well, all of us were thrilled.  They were amazing workers, incredibly wonderful to be with, Hudson is a hoot and Lauren, quite artistic (she made some of the veggie earrings Esther wears - look for her earrings on Etsy), and we didn’t have to train them (which is challenging each year to get new staff up to speed).  

After the season, they moved to Chattanooga, TN where Hudson worked at a VW factory and Lauren continued with her nursing home work.  Hudson recently was accepted into a training program sponsored by the Carpenter’s Union.  One day we got a postcard with pictures of them announcing, “We’re Married” (a year before) and to celebrate their first year and “meet our expected son”! 

We got the call that their son was born the weekend we were attending a farm conference, while we were wandering through the exhibit hall.  Esther’s gleeful yelp turned heads! 

 

And so, I turned around after returning from the farm on Friday, back to the farm on Saturday (May 29) to meet Hudson Michael for the first time and to celebrate in person with Lauren and Hudson. The farm is such an important part of their lives, and Charmaine and Justin (and us) are “family”, so they were eager to visit the farm with their son. Hudson Michael squealed with delight during his first splash in the Licking Creek.

 

This wasn’t the first farm romance.  There have been others between farm staff, some we have lost touch with, some were together and then parted, others married non-farm spouses and stay in touch. Caitlin helps out at our Adams Morgan Farmers Market along with her husband and now 2 children and Julia, the backbone of the Adams Morgan Farmers Market, married Pete (Adams Morgan customers will remember that Saturday we had to close early to get to the wedding).  

Forty some years ago, Esther, my wife to be came to the farm to purchase a ¾ ton green pick up truck for the Community Soap Factory in Adams Morgan.  We had met briefly in 1969 during an organizing meeting for a founding meeting of what became the “Jewish Renewal Movement” that her brother Daniel and I along with others had organized to bring Jewish anti-war “radicals” together. 

This was a brief encounter, but I didn’t realize I was smitten until years later. The Soap Factory was a side project of Karl Hess’ work as a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.  His focus was on “Community Technology” (read the book of the same name) experimenting with ways to bring technology and food sources to communities. In addition to the Soap Factory (that supplied co-ops around the region and country with a liquid hand and body soap), they experimented local sources of protein by raising rainbow trout indoors and started a community garden near the Marie Reed School.  At the same time, I was bringing organic citrus fruit to Stone Soup and Fields of Plenty in Adams Morgan, Esther was bringing soap to the very same co-ops!  

Follow us on Instagram - @lickingcreekbendfarm and don’t forget to tag us.  

FARM VISIT DAY, SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 11:00AM - 4:30PM (cancelled for this season)