The eight-foot-high stalks topped with bright sunflowers caught my eye on my scenic drive along the highway in rural Morgan County, Tennessee. Then I noticed the sign telling me corn was for sale. I stopped to meet Louis Basler and his brother-in-law, Garland Heidel, who were selling sweet ambrosia corn from their family farms. I paid five dollars for what I think was a rate of four ears of corn for a dollar. Yet the the bag included a few extra ears. Basler said, "Last year, the more I gave away, the more I had." He also tells me the ambrosia, with its white and yellow color combination, is the sweetest corn I'll ever eat. The sunflowers are growing where a water line made it too much trouble to mow around. So, an attention-getting flower garden went atop the line instead. The flowers also frame a peaceful view of the valley where both of the retired dairy farmers grew up.
A few miles down the road, I met farmer Phil Melhorn at his family's covered roadside produce stand. He assured me that the succulent bell peppers had just been picked minutes before I arrived. He also grew the wonderful smelling cantaloupe. Several home-grown hot peppers looked wonderful. Melhorn admitted that the tomatoes were from elsewhere in Tennessee because the blight had bothered his, and the peaches were from South Carolina. The best thing that I wish I'd had more cash to purchase was a container of fresh-picked blueberries from the family farm. They may be worth a return trip.
Labels: Appalachia, eating well, farm, garden, rural