I love farmers’ markets—the fresh produce and the baked goods as well as the meat and the dairy, almost always hormone free. I love strolling from stand to stand, talking with the vendors, who are often the farmers who grew or produced what is being sold. I love buying a box of raspberries here, some garlic sausage there, and whoopie pies at yet another table. I have noticed that other customers seem to enjoy doing these things, too, and there is a relaxed feeling at farmers’ markets that just isn’t found in most grocery stores.
In Winthrop, we have a small but nifty farmers’ market, and my goal during this season is to write a profile of each vendor. Last week, I chatted with Marinna Smith, of Snafu Acres in Monmouth, Maine. Marinna is 15, and she tends the stand at the Winthrop Farmers’ Market while her father, R. Ivan Smith, goes to the Wayne Farmers’ Market, the next town over. Nancy Smith, Marinna’s mother, does the marketing for the farm.
Marinna is bright, articulate, and very much able to handle the business that comes her way at the Farmers’ Market. She told me how Snafu Acres is a five-generation farm that specializes in eggs, poultry, beef, and pork. (Snafu Acres also used to be a dairy farm, but her father felt it was too much work milking the cows.) All the animals are raised on grains that are hormone and antibiotic free. Marinna also told me that her father is a full-time farmer who nevertheless finds time to help his brothers with their haying.
“My father comes from a big family,” Marinna said. “He’s one of 7 kids—6 boys and 1 girl.”
“What about you?” I asked. “Are you interested in farming?”
Marinna answered that although she enjoys coming to the Farmers’ Market, she probably wouldn’t be involved with the physical labor of running the farm. She likes to write, and she finds the market a good place to get material. “I see people walking by, and I get a good idea of their traits.”
“What do you plan to study in college?” I asked, even though at 15, Marinna still has a few years left in high school.
Her answer surprised me. “Biomedical Engineering.”
Truly, a well-rounded young woman.
“Is there anything else you’d like to add about the farm?” I asked.
“The farm teaches you not to procrastinate,” she replied. “When the eggs need to be washed, they need to be washed.”
She grinned. “The Snafu in our farm’s name is the acronym of what you’d expect.”
Of course it is.
Thanking Marinna for taking the time to talk to me, I bought a pound of breakfast sausage, and that evening my husband, Clif, and I had a Maine feast. We fried the sausage, and we boiled some new potatoes and green beans from Farmer Kev. Even the butter—Kate’s Butter—came from Maine. We took this simple but oh-so-good meal out to the patio, and we stayed there until it got dark, listening to the night noises and enjoying the damp feeling of dew as it settled around us. Clif light the citronella torches, which did a fine job of keeping the mosquitoes at bay. In the flickering light, the animals—the dog, the orange cat, and the black and white cat—settled around us as Clif and I toasted Maine and its summer bounty.