I remember as a child growing up in the 50’s, I always dreamed of having a farm. I used to love to go with my Dad to the local farms near-by and get fresh sweet corn. I could always see myself owning a farm with my love of animals and all, but especially to grow and eat fresh produce. There was nothing like that fresh honey and sugar sweet corn from Plainfield Pike, and the farmstead seemed so idyllic then. I especially liked to look at the other colorful fresh produce and flowers, so much that it has remained on my bucket list even now. Especially in Autumn everything looks so much better on a farm, perhaps because there are added pumpkins, mums, sunflowers and all sorts of fresh seasonal pies, like apple, squash and strawberry rhubarb.
THASC artist Jo Hardin has certainly brought back to life one of the old farmsteads in autumn of my youth complete with the changing foliage, bales of hay and rows of fresh flowers. Autumn is such a fast moving season here in New England, and so each weekend, especially in October before all the beautiful leaves have fallen, we try to take advantage of the weekends to visit local farms and buy pumpkins and Indian corn for decorating our homes as Hallowe’en draws near. In fact today my friends and I decided to take our second foliage ride of the month and head to southern Rhode Island again on another suggested route by our town newspaper. On the way we stopped at a farm very familiar to Rhode Islanders which was founded in 1902, and besides its beautiful greenhouses, Schartner Farm has a wonderful corn maze and petting zoo for the children. This farm is a year-round farm between North Kingstown and Exeter. It is owned now by a URI alumnus, Richard Schartner Sr., and his family. Richard’s father and uncle had a farm stand and restaurant on Boston Neck Road in the late 1940’s—early 50’s when I was growing up. Then, the Schartners had a real steam train kids could ride. Unfortunately there isn’t a train at the farm today, but it’s still loaded with tourists.
In contrast to this big complex farm, it should be mentioned that other farming operations serve as contrasts. CSAs or Community Supported Agricultures are so popular now mainly, for the most part, they do not use pesticides. While the crops may vary from one CSA to another, one thing they have in common is that people join them for a fee and for a year they are entitled to a continuous supply of organic fruits and fresh vegetables along with various herbs. They can pick these up regularly and nowadays CSAs are popular to an increased health-conscious population.
No matter what your produce of choice may be, Jo Hardin’s “OLD HOMESTEAD” brings me back to my wonderful childhood and how many Americans still make a living farming the land in one way or another to keep themselves and the rest of us healthy.
This and other beautiful greeting cards and pocket calendars may be purchased at www.thasc.com
Join me on Thursday as we continue to enjoy Autumn and inch our way closer to Hallowe’en.