We sell our beef stick products at the downtown Des Moines Farmers Market each Saturday during the summer. There are two winter markets in which we also participate. The experience has not only allowed us to become acquainted with the unique entrepreneurial family of vendors (another blog subject), but also has afforded us the opportunity to meet some really great customers. After every market on the drive back home, Cindy and I retell the conversations we had with”that guy with the border collie” or “that family with the cute kids”. Occasionally, an individual comes along that is even rare enough to “blog” about. That was the case with Connie Bailey who was visiting Des Moines from western Virginia.
Connie and a friend stopped by our booth at the Winter Market to buy some beef sticks. Connie was intrigued by the “flax-fed” beef that we use in our products and began asking questions. With her pronounced Appalachian accent she explained that she was buying the beef sticks for two farmer-friends who also raised beef in Virginia.
It was a lively conversation. I enjoyed Connie’s accent and was energized by her bubbling personality. To keep the conversation going, I began drilling down deeper into the science of feeding flax to cattle. Finally, I said, “have your friend call. I would be happy to discuss our practices with him”
“Oh, thank you for the offer but you would probably have trouble understanding our language, ” she said with a bit of a tease. “We have our own way of expressing things, ‘ya’ know’.” Then she recounted how last summer, when her farmer-friend Sam Minor finished spreading fertilizer on her field, he jumped off his tractor and said, “That ought’a make that grass sing now!”
I might not have put it quite that way, but I definitely know what he means. It is a truly wonderful feeling to play a part in the miracle of nature’s growth cycle.
She later emailed me Sam’s response when he tasted our Timber Ridge jerky. You’ve got to hear it for yourself:
Connie also took our jerky into Bland County, Virginia, where her alfalfa hay supplier, Steve Faulkner and family live. “I can’t hardly even think of him as a farmer,” she wrote. “because year after year, no matter what kind of season we have, the hay is always perfectly cured, weed-free, not too leafy or stemmy — just perfect. To me, that’s the work of an artist.” “And I’m sure my goats think so too.
Thank you Connie for bringing a little western Virginia sunshine to the Iowa Winter Market!