Sometimes I blame my grandmother for what I do now.
She lived right near my parents’ farm and had her own huge vegetable garden and strawberries. I would often stay with her if my parents were traveling, and get dragged there with her.
Lots of times I think of myself as a gardener — a gardener of a huge garden — rather than a farmer.
Right now there are a lot of weeds, but [White Yarrow Farm] is about five acres of cultivated space. We’re surrounded by larger property that we own, but the cut flowers and such fit into the five acres.
The way farming really found us was in Chicago, which may seem a little ironic. Jo and I met in an urban studies program and eventually got married.
When we were in Chicago, we volunteered for different community organizations and groups. We would never have called ourselves organizers, but we were volunteers for these organizers. So the idea of combining gardening or farming with community organization was very attractive to us while we were in Chicago.
We thought, ‘Hey, we want to do that, too.’
In addition to selling at the Goshen Farmers Market since the year 2000 — 22 seasons now — we also have a CSA separate from the Goshen Farmers Market. Primarily the families who are members are residents of Kalamazoo, Three Rivers and Marcellus, our village.
That’s one thing that drew us originally in and still does, the CSA basket program.
In Goshen, there’s a sort of core group of people who are not quite so committed to the perfect appearance of a vegetable. They know, if they’re a gardener or a farmer, it may taste perfectly fine but it doesn’t have to look perfect.
There’s sort of that core group that’s been good to us from the very beginning.
Jo often says if I didn’t talk so much to each person at the market things would go faster, but she knows it’s a part of it, too: selling.
I would love to do this several more years. This will be our twentieth season with the CSA next year, and I hope we can do a big celebration for that.
I guess I’ll go till I drop. Jo may retire a little sooner from farming to do more library work.
– Dale Hasenick, co-owner, White Yarrow Farm, with wife Jo Beachy
This summer, we're taking a look at some of the small farms and urban gardens you'll only find in Goshen! More stories to come through September.
Written and edited by Wendy Wilson
Original publish date April 2022
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