Saturday, April 26, 2008

From Lemons comes Lemonade

...or, in this case, organic apple cider slushies! Follow along, if you will. Saturday morning, I was scheduled to teach a two hour class on "Cleaning Green" at Willow Creek Orchards about 30 minutes northeast of here. I planned to leave an hour early to get there with plenty of time to spare. Pack car. Check. Handouts and supplies abundant. Check. Freshly ironed apron on , bucket filled with rubber gloves, natural cleaning supplies, herbs, vinegars, essential oils. Check. Leaving on time, gas tank full, say goodbye to goose on roof...Check. Smoooooth sailing, right? Wrong. Insert sound of figurative screeching brakes here...the sound of a perfectly scheduled morning coming to a screeching halt. Just fifteen minutes from home, the major highway going east turned into a sudden two lane parking lot for as far as my eyes could see. We're talking 20 miles. Fast forward through the next two hours through inching traffic which included 6-8 cell phone calls, sucking diesel fumes, ignoring angry motorists, appeasing 10+ waiting class participants and at least one frazzled driver fighting back tears. The decision was made from the highway: Class canceled...refunds issued. sigh. Everyone was disappointed. Traffic snarls are simply a 'natural' disaster of this crowded world that cannot be avoided. Once I finally got off 'Disaster Highway', I decided to forge ahead towards my final destination anyway, at the invitation of my most gracious hostess, Melissa Smith, whose cheerful voice at the other end of the phone helped to keep me from falling apart during the two hour trek. She offered a hot drink, a sweet treat and state-of-the-art composting bathroom facilities for the weary traveler. I was completely sold by the end of her sentence! Melissa and I had never met, communicating almost entirely by email since early February, but by the time I had arrived at the orchard, I was greeted with the sort of big warm hug shared only by those who have experienced an ordeal together! While I enjoyed my treats, Melissa shared the dream that she and her husband Drew had for this 140 acre tract of land and how they made that dream happen. The family farm is the first and only certified organic produce farm in Montgomery County. It's a true hard-working fairy tale of vision and commitment for this young couple...oh, and did I mention three little ones under the age of five?? And many loyal customers who are greeted on a first name basis? And a cheerful dedicated staff? Something great is happening here. Before I left to head back home, it was decided that not only would my "Cleaning Green" class be rescheduled, but an additional series of classes would be added along with a prominent spot for the Farm at Coventry product line, as well! This is the kind of 'good people' partnerships that make the world go 'round for me. After a nice walk around the orchard, blissfully enveloped in the scent of sweet apple blossoms, I was calm, satiated and ready to drive the end,it was most definitely worth the time it took to get there. In fact, I can't think of a better final destination. Next time, though, I take the scenic back roads.

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