Excerpt from The Wild Carrot, October 27, 2020, a weekly newsletter from staff to Rushton Farm CSA members.)
|I love the picture above because I have never seen Noah as happy as he is when he is in the company of his son Owen. I have had the privilege of farming with Noah for the last twenty years and we have seen and experienced a lot in those twenty years. It has only been in the last couple of years that I have seen Noah settle down, buy a house, and spend his free time enjoying the company of his wonderful family. Of course, it was not always that way….|
Noah and I first crossed paths in the early nineties on Martha’s Vineyard. Noah was working at Solviva farm and greenhouse in West Tisbury while I was working on boats sailing out of Vineyard Haven. At that time, the Vineyard still had a somewhat rustic appeal and you could have beach party’s or camp out in cabins where you felt removed from the tourists who frequented the Island. Those who worked on the Vineyard and year-round “Islanders” knew all the great spots to hang out and fun places to go. There were a lot of fun times and crazy stories. Noah and I socialized in some of the same circles but never met.
Noah left the Vineyard in the late nineties and returned to West Chester where he showed up at Pete’s Produce Farm one day looking for land to farm. I was in my first year managing Pete’s Produce Farm and we (along with Pete) agreed that having a young organic farmer working some of the lands would be beneficial to the growing business. It was not long before Noah and I were sharing stories about the Vineyard, farming, and life in general. We hit it off immediately and have been working together, and telling stories, ever since.
Telling stories. That is where The Old Salt title comes in. Little known fact, while on the Vineyard Noah was also a licensed commercial fisherman. An “old salt” is a sailor or fisherman who is a raconteur or teller of stories. These individuals often keep the history of an area by recanting stories of past times and events. Ever since I first met Noah he has regaled me with stories ranging from boating misadventures to farm misadventures (we both have a lot of stories about misadventures). We have cataloged many stories over the last twenty years and the Rushton Farm Staff gets to hear them regularly. All the time. Nearly every day (ok every day) Noah and Fred tell stories of their past much to the amusement, ok, sometimes frustration, of a staff that occasionally shows interest but often just wants to eat lunch or go home. “The Chelsea shuffle” is named for the way Chelsea Allen would slowly move away as stories got longer and longer hoping we would not notice as she tried to get away. Now, The Purple Chill takes a different approach, and just says “I’m going home, feel free to keep talking”.
The reality is that Noah and I have learned a lot from the “old salts” who entertained us as we grew up. We have also learned a lot about each other after twenty years in the field. Noah is my brother in farming and life and I am lucky to have had him by my side through the good and the bad. This season has proven a challenge from the beginning but I knew if anyone could make it work it would be Noah. Thanks, Noah for all you have done during this difficult season. Of course, I am quite sure the “old salt” will turn the events of this season into some entertaining banter in the future. Look out, 2021 interns.