After leaving Muddy Bikes we drove a few miles away from downtown toward Radell's place on the outskirts of town. Radell was a couple of years ahead of me in school and I remember well his easygoing manner and ready smile. After graduating Radell taught high school for a number of years and rented a 5 acre plot of land that he farmed in the summer until school would start again. Radell talked to us about how much he loved farming and finally decided to stop teaching and farm full time. Now he has a CSA, grows for the Harrisonburg Farmers Market and is contemplating building a roadside stand at the end of the lane. As we walked through the extremely orderly rows of carrots, peppers, tomatoes (which he was especially proud of), and lettuce galore I thought about how well this farm seemed to reflect Radell's personality.
Radell farms with intense focus, rows are planted as close as plants can be and thrive, the design is efficient and utilitarian, and beautiful in a manicured way.
Radell's parents moved from Wisconsin to Harrisonburg for their retirement as they had always planned to do, but they have really enjoyed being part of the work on the farm. They help out every day and always bring a lunch fit for hard working farmers to share with Radell. Mrs. Schrock speaks with quiet pride about Radell's being voted on as the president of the farmers market association and how well he handles whatever conflicts may arise there. In the past few years the farmers market has gone from non-existent to slightly patronized to thriving, and we could well see that from the vendors spilling out of the covered gazebo ino the parking lot. Before we took off we bought some brilliantly orange carrots from Radell which we finished in the short walk from the gazebo to the car.