Becky Barnes picks her fresh crops the old-fashioned way
PHOTO BY JODI MILLER
As sunny as a basket of fresh produce, Becky Barnes is the woman behind Dangling Carrot Farm, a few acres in Williamsport where she grows delicious greens, garlic, tomatoes, peppers and more. You can grab her hand-picked goods Tuesdays at Pearl Market or Saturdays at farmers markets in Clintonville and Worthington. Barnes shared more about getting her hands dirty.
I grew up on a grain farm. Corn, soybeans and wheat. I liked to play outside my whole life—play around the farm with my cousins, drive tractors, bale straw and stuff.
Produce is entirely different than grain crops. It’s pretty intensive on your body. You’re not doing much with the tractor, at least not at my scale. It’s all hand-picking.
Now that I’m six years into it, it’s starting to make sense. Every year it clicked a little more. Now it’s down to not quite a science, but as close as I can get it. I know the amount to grow. I know what I can sell. I know what to do with it, if I can’t sell it at market.
The number-one important thing for me is to be outside. I can’t stand being in buildings for any extended period. To work in one, I couldn’t do it.
On a typical July day, I just get up with the sun. Whatever time of year it is, I start working when it’s daylight. On the days I need to pick, I like to pick early and get it done before the heat of the day. It’s good if the produce can be picked when it’s still cool. The rest of the day, I can work on weeding or twining or any number of things that need done.
The most rewarding thing I grow is arugula. I think about that a lot. Farmers, we don’t have a lot to think about or talk about all day. So we discuss things like this on the phone sometimes. There’s something about when you cut arugula. It’s really aromatic. I love how it tastes. It’s a quick crop.