This is the ninth in a series of posts on Happyday Farms, the CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) located up here on Bell Springs Road, run by Casey, Amber, Lito and Courtney.
Rocking the Quarry
When one thinks about the conventional farmers’ market, the likely image would be an urban street or wide sidewalk, lined with booths in muted colors, with very little bling. One sees an assortment of fresh produce at many of the stands, possibly a booth with organic meat, maybe booths that feature honey, herbs, spices, salves, vegetable starts and whatever else fits into the motif of an outdoor market.
Folks wander through, pausing to buy something from a couple of the booths, and depart. Occasionally, there will be live music and people may linger to listen to a number or two, but they do not tarry long. It’s nothing more than transporting the local organic produce market outdoors.
Up on the mountain, we have a different type of venue. Folks who come here, have gone out of their way. It’s not as though you take off for a quick run to town to get a dozen eggs and end up at our market. You have to come up Bell Springs Road four miles to attend this gig. If you’re like me and you’ve been driving Bell Springs for forty years, then it’s no big deal.
Others, however, occasionally experience a little anxiety while driving up here in our neck of the woods. I think it has more to do with others on the road than the road itself. Out here in the wilds, it pays to drive defensively because there is a certain breed of twenty-something-year-olds, who do not recognize the danger of driving too fast on a graveled road. What you can do on pavement does not match what you can do on gravel, no matter what you think.
In any case, the standard directions to the quarry market are, “Turn off the 101 onto Bell Springs Road and drive until you get to the cars.” If the directions are totally accurate, they will include the notation that you should be prepared to walk, as often the line-up of vehicles on both ends of the quarry is endless.
What is the attraction, you might ask? Why do folks come down from Island Mountain, a good ninety-minute commute away, over rugged terrain? Or from Laytonville and Leggett? Or from Cow Mountain? Or from points beyond?
They come because they seek a sense of community. They gather at the quarry because it’s not pretentious. They mingle together in work clothes and shorts; in hippie clothes and Levis; to talk and to laugh; to eat and to make merry. There is always music and mostly it’s loud. There is always an assortment of beverages to drink, with contributions readily forthcoming to defray the cost of the nectar.
Casey and Amber, with Courtney, are selling Happyday Farms produce, while distributing CSA shares. In past years Annie and I would be selling gluten-free baked goods, with an emphasis on the multi-grained breads. Last summer I even did the organic juice/fizzy water booth, which doesn’t bring in any more loot than to cover the cost of the ingredients, but was kind of fun in a lightweight sort of way.
In any case, it begins earlier each summer, and stretches later each fall, so maybe I’ll see you there one of these Wednesdays, from four to six in the afternoon. Bring whatever floats your boat in the way of refreshments, and if you don’t feel like driving home, bring a sleeping bag.
There’s a nice awning under which you can crash. See you there.