Since I started the farmers market one of my favorite things to do is to go visit farms. When I walk the fields with farmers, maybe pick some okra, or help dig up carrots, or learn how to milk a goat, I get a quick view of the workings of a farm. I leave with a respect and love for these men and women who live and work their passion. Many of us have jobs. Just jobs. These people have passion for their work beyond themselves that dates back to their family’s heritage and propels them towards continuing their agricultural legacy.
While I was scooping up sweet potatoes with Rick Minter and his daughter Stephanie, we enjoyed the sunshine and chatted about goals, kids, and well, Christmas.
It’s hard not to think about when you are surrounded by gorgeous tress such as the Leyland Cypress, Virginia Pines, and Carolina Sapphire—all in neat rows as far as my eye could see. So while the early November wind blew us around and folks up north battled a hurricane, we scooped up sweet potatoes, row after row, and quick frankly, I wanted to sing a few Christmas carols.
For the fourth year now, Rick Minter and his family participate in a program call Trees for Troops. This organization with the help of the local tree farms across the nations and Fed- Ex, and fellow Americans, who purchase the trees, send up to an 8-foot tree to a United States military member or his family. Last year the group sent over 103,000 trees logging 352,000 miles in the process. That’s a lot of trees and a lot of miles. The Minter’s farm is one of those farms that send trees all over the world. I was standing by a tree that in a month from now will be somewhere overseas, decorated with twinkle lights, or popcorn strands, or old fashion paper chains. Who knows?
Often when I leave a farm after spending some time, maybe doing a little work, (My glove compartment of my car, actually carries gloves now), I often can’t get my mind past a thought, very much like a good book, or a great movie-- you just keep thinking about it. Well, that’s how I was when I heard about Trees For Troops. Such a simple idea: $20.00 for a donation, and they send the tree to someone who more than likely is away from a family member on Christmas Day.
And that’s when it hit me. It’s more than just a tree, to a stranger in a uniform; it’s a handshake, a hug, and a high-five to our military that protect our country and our values so we can have the freedom to celebrate all religious holidays.
Sometimes we underestimate a small gesture and the momentum it generates. Like the night in her darkest hour, or a mother’s worry before her child’s fever breaks, or a friend, who wearily goes through their day to day routine, something like a Christmas tree, or a homemade gift of cookies, a note to a friend, can be a bigger gift than it appears to be: momentum. The momentum of a small offering promises hope when someone feels tired, lonely, or even apathetic. We don’t know when that gift of momentum creates a turning point for someone. It can’t be measured. It’s not discussed. The spirit of momentum propels the person forward and the positive action creates more positive actions. And it could start with something as simple as a tree being delivered by Fed Ex.
If you would like to give a little momentum this holiday season, go by the Minter Farm located at 283 Hill Bridge Road Fayetteville, Georgia. The farm will be open everyday after Thanksgiving for tree cutting experiences or call 770-461-2840 or visit their website, www.inmanfarms.com.
For more information about Trees for Troops go to www.treesfortroops.org
Check out my blog, www.purpleokra.com and you can see my latest farm visits.
Tricia Stearns is the market manager of the Peachtree City Farmers Market, ptcfarmersmarket.org, a Realtor with Prudential Georgia Realty and a mom of three grown daughters. You can read her blog at www.purpleokra.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.