Farms and farewell

The inspiration behind our annual Farm to Table Issue; and a goodbye to a CN&R colleague

The other day, after shopping at the Saturday farmers’ market, I went home and started to make lunch from my purchases. As I was cutting up the farm-fresh produce, the aroma, especially of the cucumber, took me back decades—to childhood visits to my grandmother’s cozy home on her farm outside of Hamilton City.

Sitting on a bar stool in front of a giant countertop in her modest kitchen is where I ate my first veggie sandwich—a thick slice of salt-and-peppered tomato topped with cucumber (both technically fruits) and thinly shaved onion. Those ingredients between lightly toasted bread with a little mayo were among the lunch staples during the weeks I’d spend with her over summer breaks from school back home in the Bay Area.

After preparing sandwiches for us, Grandma would slice up and season the remaining tomato and we’d eat it almost as a side dish. Save for the bread, spices and mayo, the ingredients all came from her garden among the almond and walnut trees on her property near Mills Orchard.

Grandma’s house at “the ranch” was my introduction to what farm to table was all about.

For me, a city kid, it was a magical thing. In the mornings, I’d help her harvest the bounty that created many of our other meals: green beans, asparagus, various squashes. We’d pick berries and stone fruits for pies she’d make from scratch.

There’s something extremely satisfying about growing your own food and turning it into a meal or sharing it with friends and family. My time there inspired a lifelong love of gardening and an interest in farming. More recently, it inspired this newspaper’s annual Farm to Table Issue, which we launched back in 2013.

It’s a fun project for us. We enjoy getting out into the field (figuratively and, in this case, literally) and meeting the folks who help fill our plates. This year, we chose to highlight a handful of local farmers who raise livestock and poultry.

Each time we work on this issue, it reminds me that we live in a special place.

In other news: We’re a pretty tight-knit group over here at the corner of Second and Flume streets, and a few weeks ago we said farewell to one of our longtime compatriots, senior advertising consultant Brian Corbit, who has moved on to other adventures in the working world.

Brian started in CN&R’s ad sales department back in 2006, a year before I came aboard. He brought a lot of positive energy to the office and was always the first one to lend a hand with the company’s many events. Those in the nonprofit world know him for establishing and organizing the monthly wine-tasting fundraisers that have buoyed the coffers of countless local charitable organizations (a program that lives on through one of his colleagues).

Brian believed in the mission of the paper—to make a positive impact on our community—and he walked the walk during his time here.

We miss him already and wish him well.