Meet My CSA Buddy
Who’d have thought that when I met Rob Hemwall wearing a blue hairnet and scrubbing pots and pans in a hospital kitchen after school in suburban St. Louis that we’d meet up thirtysomething years later on his 34-acre family-owned-and-run operation just outside the city limits of Columbia, Missouri. Rob and I remained friends through high school and college, but lost track of each other somewhere along the line. I finally caught up with him last weekend at his bucolic farm: Here are the two of us catching up on old times.
Rob and his wife Angela started Pierpont Farms six years ago to practice sustainable agriculture using organic methods and to give their two daughters the opportunity to grow up in a more natural environment. Pierpont Farms offers a 25-week CSA (community-supported agriculture) of vegetables, some fruits, herbs, and flowers all grown sustainably with compost, cover crops, row covers, irrigation from a pond, and crop rotations along with many other non-chemical methods of on-going soil improvement. They grow all their own produce, including 20 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, 12 varieties of lettuces, several varieties of beans, cucumber, melons, onions, carrots, beets, and too many others to list here. They also offer free-range eggs from heritage breeds and pastured poultry.
That’s his 12-year-old daughter Sydney with one of her chickens that she hopes to enter in their country fair this summer. Sydney and her sister are charged with feeding the chickens, collecting their eggs, picking vegetables, and helping to weed the long rows of vegetable crops. Rob and his family give me hope for the future. And I’m glad that I can call him my friend.