Meet Charles Gardner, Jr., a 3rd generation Talbot County Farmer

Driving around near Cordova on Sunday afternoon, I was watching the late afternoon sun land on fields of cover crops and shiny grain elevators. It was a beautiful afternoon. Always on the lookout for people growing actual food, as opposed to only corn and soybeans – I whipped around twice when I saw a field of fall greens, and was delighted to see someone harvesting. I got out and met Charles Gardner, Jr. – a 3rd generation Talbot County farmer.

With some four acres on this piece of land, on Rt. 309, and another field near his own home, Charles Gardner and his father share the work on this field, as they have during most of his life. His father lives here, on land purchased by family back in 1890. They cultivate crops from early spring through fall, year in and year out. Starting with lettuces, greens and broccoli, they move through peppers, tomatoes, beans and sweet potatoes in the warm seasons, then a fall crop of kale, collards, broccoli to finish up the year. His fall greens looked gorgeous – rich and healthy and deep green in color. Gentle and soft-spoken, this man’s love for the land was obvious.

He pointed to a basket of cut kale – “I sell this for $4. You know how much people pay for a can of greens in the grocery store? With mostly stems, hardly anything in it? 2 or 3 bucks. People should be eating this fresh”.

We talked about his crops and as I was leaving, he called out – “come see this picture I keep in my truck”. We walked through his field toward his truck, and I could feel the thick soil in rows under my feet. He pulled out a newspaper article from 1995 (yes, he carries it in his truck) and showed it to me – an article in the Star Democrat from June of 1995 by Jocelyn Hassanzadeh. With photos and stories about his father and himself, I was reminded about how timeless the land can be. Farming year in and year out, on the same piece of land, stewards. Feeding us, right here in Talbot County – when so many others have turned to growing only industrial corn and soybeans.

I appreciated this man and his willingness to grow our food. It looked so delicious, there in the red basket, as did the rows of collards and kale, the broccoli picked clean, now going to seed.

Thank you, Charles Gardner, Talbot County farmer.

~ by kbosin on November 21, 2011.

5 Responses to “Meet Charles Gardner, Jr., a 3rd generation Talbot County Farmer”

  1. I thank you Charles Gardner as well, and thank you Kathy for sharing such a nice read. Great delicious photos, I love fresh vegetables!

  2. Love the story…..and Mr Gardner! Thanks

  3. What an inspiring story! It’s mindblowing (to me, anyway), when you put a seed in the ground and it grows into something you can eat at your table. It amazes me every single time. Thank you Charles Gardner indeed!

  4. I love that you saw him out and stopped to talk to him. Vintage KB! and he (of course) turned out to be wonderful. did you buy some kale??

    • I did not buy any kale but would love to have eaten some of it. MY frig has been so full of kale lately. There’s that salad recipe with kale and Brussels sprouts that I keep craving and keep making. Have you tried it? I think I put it on facebook a couple weeks ago….Happy Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday!

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