For the last 15 years or so, I’ve been buying pumpkins at Blakeman’s Farm, on the right just after you pass 29 on the way north from Wilmore on 68. I’ve also bought vegetables and chrysanthemums from him on numerous occasions.
The last 3 or 4 years, he’s had wretched harvests, due to either too much rain, or not enough, and has planted less and less acreage each year. But although appearing more and more discouraged about the future of his farm, he was always cheerful, friendly, and remembered me from year to year, asking to see photos of the pumpkins that had been carved.
A couple weeks ago, apparently, he made the decision to call it quits. The last few weeks there have been bulldozers on the farm, destroying all the trees, which have been burnt in enormous bonfires. Now the entire farm is flat and unwooded from one end to the other, and there are signs up indicating what kind of housing development is going in there.
It all makes me sad for a number of reasons. I feel just awful for the local farmers who can’t make it from one year to another because the Walmarts are selling pumpkins – not bigger or better or even cheaper, but more convenient to the shoppers. It’s not convenient to drive out to Blakeman’s for vegetables any more, so you get them at Kroger, and the small-scale farmers across the country – heck, across the world – have to close down and do something else, after generations of having a farm there.
So it looks like next year there won’t be a Blakeman’s farm any more, and I’ll have to get my pumpkins somewhere else, paying more for them, and missing the delightful conversations with a kind friendly man who had put his own work into growing those pumpkins.
And I hate to see all those old trees pulled down and unceremoniously burned in huge ugly heaps, belching smoke into the air and not warming anybody’s hearth. It’s a tragedy, truly.
And, of course, one more housing development on my road to work, making traffic worse, the road more dangerous for cyclists, and yet another place for accidents as cars pull out into the narrow winding road.
Yes, progress, jobs, homes for folks, and all that. But it’s sad to watch an old way of life getting ploughed under.