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  • We were making our way back into town on a Sunday morning. I had gone to visit a farm to meet a flock of heritage breed sheep and a donkey that didn't seem to like me very much (a first). This "business trip" took me into Bethania, NC, an officially-named historic village on the outskirts of my hometown. I rode along with a mother-daughter team who craft artisan jams, pickles and syrups from locally grown and foraged ingredients. We started early, so they could pick blueberries before the sticky summer haze settled into the morning and before the bumblebees could graze on their feet.

    The SUV hugged the curves of a paved, winding road that at one time probably served as a pedestrian pathway for Moravian farmers and their animals to get through town. I thought about this while sitting in the passenger seat, until I became distracted by the toes on my right foot. Leather straps holding the sandal's sole curved over my toes that I had splayed out like a hand-turkey. While I couldn't see them, I just knew there were minute bits of sheep manure stuck in between my toes, a result of me trotting through grassy pastures belonging to my new woolly friends, with feet ill-prepared for the scattered stink-bombs.

    I looked up when we abruptly began edging over to the shoulder of the road. The ladies had spotted farmers they knew. I had met them at the local farmers market the day before -- a beautiful young family of five, farming responsibly and by hand on preserved land they had inherited. Their five-year-old son, with cerulean eyes shining bright like marbles, showed off his father's heirloom tomatoes at market and explained how he helped dig out the garlic bulbs. Bethania Bottoms offers a CSA to their community and proudly says on its website: "Some of the land we use is the same land original settlers of Bethania used to provide food for their community."

    "How y'all doing?" my friend yelled from the backseat window as we rolled over toward them. "What are you up to?"

    The two farmers stopped uprooting potatoes to say hello. I couldn't even tell how dirty their feet were; they were standing in a mass of tangled, just-pulled weeds. One of them wiped his forehead, the day getting hotter.

    "Oh, well, you know," he said. "We're at church."
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