We had the privilege of having niece Avery as an intern this past summer; she helped organize and schedule several video interviews we wanted to tell and we had the extra benefit of her writing talent. Avery is a freshman at Indiana University in Bloomington furthering her studies in the arts and writing. We know we’re biased but we think she is quite talented. This is the piece she wrote as an introduction for this interview – take it away Avery!
At Turner Farm, located in the verdant Cincinnati suburb Indian Hill, summer is still summer. Unlike at the local supermarket, there is no air conditioning to retreat to here, nor any timeless arrays of produce misted on rotation to effortlessly sift among. There are no boxes of food—in varying degrees of fossilization—lined up on shelves stretching for rows and rows. Here, the sun beats down. One can feel the change in temperature from sun-warmed field to tree-lined sheep pen. Though one will find carrots and tomatoes, basil, peppers, zucchini, beets, and cucumbers, among other produce, in the small, barn-like “Turner Farm market,” there are no pears or oranges to be found. Chickens roam free, filling the underbrush with the gentle clucking sound of their gossip, and tan cows lay in a shady corner of their nearby pasture.
One of the last working farms in the Cincinnati area, Turner Farm has done much to preserve—and revive—the natural convergence of time, environment, and humanity that has lately been so disrupted. The farm is worked by hand and horse (the motorized plows they sometimes use are being phased-out). The greater eco-system of the 60-plus acres are carefully monitored by its caretakers, with any disturbances in the cycle being gently put to rights with problem solving, observation, and ingenuity rather than pesticides, violence, or force.
But the conscientiousness of the farmers has created a place so harmonious that all of the meticulous planning behind it is almost unnoticeable. The deep green of the fields is the perfect counterpoint to the animals and flowers that populate its expanse, the grunting of the pigs from their pig pen mixes effortlessly with the chirping and creaking of the tree-top canopy above them. A painting class dots the main gravel road and lawn surrounding the few human structures at the center of the farm, their paintings so reflective of the natural beauty all around us that they seem not canvas and pigment at all, but photographs or, better yet, little clippings of the day itself, shiny and sweet-smelling, that we might carry with us in our pockets like a sun-ripened tomato, or one perfect, fragile chicken’s egg the color of earth and sun.
…………….. . ~ Introduction written by Avery Olund-Smith, Smith Bites Summer Intern