Merle’s Lemon Tree


“Sustaining,” “energy,” “spirituality” are all words Alan Cunningham uses to describe Vital Farms.  I never knew what these concepts really meant till spending some time with Alan.  Okay, sustenance relates to food, and energy is needed to grow plants — that was my limited understanding before visiting Vital Farms.  From a day in the market though I quickly learned that Alan conceives of the farm as really a backdrop for people to connect with the land or with each other. He hopes it can be a place where anyone can drop by to work the land and have meaningful exchanges.  Or, simply be a place where people can contribute and feel useful   — Alan using the spirituality and modern-day rarity of a local producing farm as a magnet for charitable service.

So I was able to go home and tell my failing elderly mother that she must rally because Vital Farms needs her backyard fruit.  She must resume walking to be able to pick our lemons. Hundreds of Meyer lemons and 85 year-old Merle just waiting for a purpose.   Growing up on a Depression-era Idaho farm where if you didn’t grow it, you traded for it, Merle immediately responded to this idea of bringing her abundance to a local produce exchange like Vital Zuman Farm. Sustaining, energy, spirituality . . .

– This article was contributed by our outstanding volunteer Renee Montgomery

Feel free to be inspired and bring in your backyard fruit!


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