Christina Talmadge is a teacher in the Hartford school in Washington County. Brian teaches 6th grade in Salem. Cara his sister teaches biology in Stillwater. But what they also teach all of us that make home in Washington County is being closer to nature, and to appreciate the many gifts nature sends forth through its babies - fruits and vegetables.
Brian and his sister Cara were at the Greenwich farmers market. We caught up with them after meeting Christina at the farmstand itself. Cara was busy selling to customers. Brian was headed out somewhere but stayed back to say hello Charlie, Grandma and I. The beans were beautiful. Not French beans. But farmers beans. Three kinds of cherry tomatoes were at the stand. Also black raspberries and bluberries.
Brian Talmadge is a third generation farmer. When not farming he is the 6th grade teacher at Salem Central School in downtown Salem, NY. I am sure he is a popular teacher. And his eyes and demeanor tell you he must be kind and patient as well. Brian now farms 18 acres of his own and rents an additional 30 acres. Sweet corn, cabbage, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, beans, peppers, pumpkins, winter squash, rhubarb, berries of many kinds can all be found magically singing because of his careful and gifted hands. Brian is also responsible for helping set up the garden adjacent to the school in Salem. His hard work with the team there has paid off for a second year of the community gardens existence.
There was a lone cabbage sitting at the farmstand. It looked so pretty. I wish I had picked it up. That is the problem of being at a farmers market. Everything looks yummy. And everything speaks out to you.
Christina (Brian's wife with the beans) and Cara (Brian's younger sister with the berries and tomatoes) are truly wonderful. Working the market. Selling beautiful produce. And most of all helping educate our kids to be the smart young women and men of tomorrow that they ought to be. What a wonderful treat it must be for local kids to find them at the market, recognize them as teachers and come up to them, chat, learn about farming during the summer and also speak with about any homework for the holidays they have questions on. This is the charm of living in a small community. Everyone knows everyone and everything. Sometimes too much, really. But never in a way that you are bothered.
Brian, you may have made a mistake by asking us to come pick up berries at the farmstand. Now Charlie and I will always be asking you for tomatoes of all kinds. Charlie is already asking me to start thinking up of what recipe I want to use to can some tomato jam and chutney. Watch out!
Brian, please get a website. It would be wonderful for all of us that adore your produce to learn a little more about your family and your life. Your farm and your planting schedule. Your harvesting schedule. Your everything. So we never leave you alone. But really, Brian, thanks for being you. Thanks for growing beautiful fruits and vegetables and sharing them with all of us in Washington County. We are grateful to you for making time to farm even as you teach and do so much more. Your berries and your veggies always keep your name alive and in very good stead in our household. We must have Christina and you at our table. Sooner than later. So we can spoil you as well.