I have come to realize that most of my life exists west of Lincoln. I am fortunate enough that both my home and job are just a short bike ride down the beach from one another, and I dread spending time in my car. All of this got me thinking about farmers and all of the time they spend on the road. What do they do to pass the time?
Troy Regier of Regier Farms leaves his farm at 2 a.m. on Wednesdays to get to the Farmers’ Market. He listens to loud music and chews sunflower seeds just to stay awake on the road. He also dreams about making more money so he will not always have to work so hard.
Holy Guacamole’s George Bamber says the traffic has gotten so bad that his drive takes longer than it did five years ago. Some days he thanks his lucky stars that he even gets to the market in one piece. Over the years, he has witnessed horrible accidents, crashes and even burning cars. George takes advantage of books on tape that he ordinarily would not have the time to read. He is currently listening to The Drinking Life by Pete Hamill.
Vicki Bernard of Bernard Ranch listens to traffic reports to find out where the accidents are, so they know which routes to avoid. Gabriel Contreras has been working for Bernard Ranch for eight years. When Vicki is behind the wheel he likes to sleep. However, when he is driving he prefers music or baseball games on the radio. Vicki points out that it always takes Gabriel longer to get places because he does not listen to the traffic reports.
Vilma Causey of Briar Patch always has company in her truck; she brings a different pet on the road with her to every market. Last week her cockatiel, Kobe, was with her. Other times she brings dogs, cats, turtles or her chicken, Timola (translates to “chicken stew” in Filipino).
Jeff Rieger and Laurence Hauben of Penryn Orchard have a wireless Internet connection in their van that enables them to do business wherever they are. It also helps them find the cheapest gas prices en route to wherever they may be going.
Commuting to Farmers’ Markets is Maryann Carpenter’s favorite part of the day. It is the only time she and her daughter have alone time together.
Regardless of how many miles our California farmers commute to bring us delicious produce, it is certainly fewer than all of the produce sitting at the grocery store that is flown in from all over the world. Next time you are at the Farmers’ Market, remember to thank the farmers for all of their hard work.