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One summer while I was still in undergrad, I was spending the weekend with a friend at her parent’s cabin up in the middle of nowhere in mid-Michigan. I couldn’t sleep, and at 4:30 I switched on the TV.

That was my first experience with Ag Day- a daily program for Michigan farmers, talking about the weather, planting/harvesting conditions, you name it. Every morning at 4:30.

The idea of farming is completely romantic to me. Granted, you talking to a girl that would rather eat asparagus (horrid) than rake leaves (I grew up in a very, very leaf-heavy yard). But I loved the idea of being in tuned with nature- knowing when it was going to rain just by looking at the sky; if the peppers and carrots were ready to be pulled from their roots by the color of their stems and leaves.

View to the east of some sweet corn at Desert Roots Farm just outside Queen Creek, Arizona.

Now before you write me off completely as hopeless, you should know that both my grandparents on my dad’s side were farmers, and grew up in tiny farming communities in Ohio. My grandfather, Earl, was one of those people who could tell you when it would rain, and grew the best tomatoes I have had in my life, bar none. He was always, always the first one to spot a robin- a sure sign that spring was on it’s way. My grandma loves to tell the story of the time a chicken ran around the yard for ten minutes, despite the fact that my grandma’s mother had chopped its head off.

Growing up my parents would have gardens from time to time, and my absolute favorite memory is digging in the dirt for new potatoes. I’m telling you, when you find one, you feel like you’ve found gold. We would grow cherry tomatoes, cucumber, pumpkin, and more zuchinni than my mom knew what to do with.

Living in metropolitan Phoenix for the past two years, I miss seeing vast expanses of farmland, and having my parent’s fresh veggies. And although my grandfather has been gone for over 12 years, I still miss him and his tomatoes.

I recently did a story on farmers in Arizona that supply farmers markets and CSAs, and my research had me traveling to the markets and farms, getting knee-deep in mud and breathing fresh air from a vast expanse of openness.

The idea of being one with the earth and nature, let alone setting my own hours and producing wholesome, nutritious food, still calls.

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