(A sign, deer, porcupine, a farm, farmhouse, an old man, a flatbed trailer, corn, peaches, tomatoes)
My husband and I are both in need of distraction from the crises rocking the country. We want to travel, as we normally do in the summer. but we don’t especially feel comfortable staying in hotels. Maybe later. So day trips are our only option. When a friend told me about a farm stand south of Albany with wonderful peaches, we decided that would suffice for a mini-outing. We set out early afternoon on our quest to find these peaches. We were sure it was on a certain route, however, it didn’t appear to be where we thought it should be. We continued until we saw a sign indicating “Fresh corn” to the left. We were also interested in buying corn as well, so we turned onto this rural road. It was bucolic and winding. We passed a herd of deer grazing in a field, and a porcupine perched on a log by the side of the road. We pulled over to watch him. I wanted to get out of the car so I could take a picture, as I’d never seen a porcupine in the wild before. My husband reminded me that I might not want to spend the rest of the day in the emergency room having quills removed from my body. As we were discussing the pros and cons of wildlife photography, the porcupine climbed off the log and lumbered into the brush. With my photographic enthusiasm momentarily curtailed, we traveled on. A few miles down the road, we came upon a large farm. A twin of the sign out by the main road was posted on the front lawn. “Corn for sale.” In the wide driveway leading to the elegant gray and white farmhouse sat a large flatbed trailer, loaded with baskets of tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches and a huge mound of fresh corn.
It wasn’t the farm stand we were looking for, it had everything we were looking for. Why keep going? As we stood there, looking over the mound of corn, rich red tomatoes, and lush, fragrant peaches, a pickup truck pulled in. An older man, who looked like a farmer himself, began picking up ears of corn and dumping them into the large plastic bags that hung on a hook on the side of the flatbed. Seemingly oblivious to us standing there, he moved in closer to us, nearly elbowing me to get to what, I assume, he thought, were the best ears. He was not wearing a mask so my husband and I backed away until the man was finished. Judging from the copious amount of ears he’d plucked out, he either had a large family with a very healthy appetite for corn, or his wife was freezing it. Either way, she was going to be a busy woman.
For a moment I wasn’t sure there’d be many ears remaining. Finally convinced his three large bags were sufficient, he put his money into the tin can that sat next to the bags. And as he drove away, the owner of the farm pulled up in a pickup truck and proceeded to dump a virtual mountain of fresh corn onto the trailer. I admit, we went a bit crazy, picking out long, thick ears with total abandon. I had to contain myself, knowing there was only the two of us and our freezer was already filled to the brim. Convinced we had more than an adequate supply of corn, we moved onto the tomatoes, and finally those luscious peaches.
After our purchases, we continued on our way, determined to find our original destination. Twenty minutes later we arrived at the farm stand. Having purchased nearly everything we wanted, I bought a head of homegrown leaf lettuce. We learned that the two stands are owned by the same family, with a third stand just a few miles from our house.
That night we feasted on BLTs, with bacon and our farm stand’s thick, juicy ripe tomatoes and fresh lettuce, on artisan bread slathered with mayonnaise – and, of course, several ears of delicious, sweet corn. We completed the feast with sliced peaches and a touch of cream. It wasn’t an exciting overnight trip to the ocean or to the mountains, but it was a perfect ending to a pretty perfect day in the country. And enough to get us through another week.