SUMMER IN MICHIGAN

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Lake Michigan at its absolute best
Yes, it is summer, and yes, it is the 4th of July, one of the constants in our lives. Supposed to be hot, but until today that has not happened here in Hart, Michigan. The cherries are turning red, we can see the green and tiny apples starting to appear on the dwarf fruit trees, and another wonderful season is upon us. There is no place like Michigan in the summer and fall. Miles upon miles of fruit trees in every direction, fruit stands wherever you look, and the Farmers Markets are in full bloom. We are blessed with a climate here that brings forth almost every kind of fruit you can imagine. When we were in full swing on our farm we had 25 different apple varieties, seven kinds of peaches, 3 kinds of pears, plums and apricots that you would die for. Waiting for the exact time to pick the fruit when it was at its perfect flavor and beautiful coloring, we would walk the orchards every evening, exulting in the perfection of it all.
Today we smile at it all, and remember. It is a wonderful thing to have spent your entire life raising fruit in order to make people happy, and that is what my husband has done. I am dedicating this day to him, Bob Rider, and to all of the people including our children who worked on our farms and sold fruit at our Farmers Market. As I speak he is out on his riding mower, making our lawn look as great as his farms have always done. Well done, Bob Rider.

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THE FARMERS MARKET

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Is it really the “farmers” market
Or does it belong to the customer?
Standing behind the counter in our busy stall,
Sorting out apricots, golden and beckoning,
I watch the people walking by.

Young mothers with strollers, or their babies in back packs,
Older women with teenagers trailing behind them
Women in work suits or long dresses,
Hurrying thru their workaday lunch hour.
Always there are women with canes, or walkers,
Or clinging to the arm of a granddaughter.
Older couples, a little bent, and hair of gray or silver,
Men sent by their wives for a special item.
Single men learning to buy and cook for themselves,
Fathers, brought along to carry the many bags and baskets,
Young women asking for advice.
“How do I cook this, or which one is the best buy?”
Older women, buying varieties they remember from childhood,
The laughter, the smiles, the joyful greetings,
The questions of people who assume I know the answers.
The many customers who just want to talk to the “farmer”.
The pleasure of pleasing the friends stopping at our stall,
And the delight of working with our fellow co-workers.
The abundance, the vivid colors of the many fruits and vegetables.
The heavenly aroma of the bouquets of flowers blazing
Everywhere along the crowded aisle.
The courtesy, the kindnesses of the farmers for their customers.

This is truly “The People’s Market” to me.

THE APPLE

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Today I bought an apple.
It was a bright and shiny apple.
As I sunk my teeth into the firm white flesh,
I thought about how it got here.

First there was God.
Then there was the Farmer,
Then there was the State Horticultural Agent,
Then there was the nursery that grew the young tree,
Then there was the spraying and pesticides agent,
Then there was the picker,
Then there was the trucker to the processing plant,
Then there was the worker who washed
And preserved and boxed the fruit,
Then there was the trucker who hauled it to the store,
Then there were the store employees,
The planners,
The investors,
The bookkeepers,
The warehouse workers,
The stock boys,
The maintenance workers,
The greeters,
The clerks,
The checkers,
The carry out persons,

And now there is Me,
Enjoying the Apple,
Red or green, tart or sweet,
Knowing that we are all working together.

Thank you, God!