Nature and puppies- does it get any better? A visit to idyllic Kretschmann Family Organic Farm and an introduction to little Molly, the adorable farm dog with a big future ahead of her.
You could call them titans. You could call them OG’s. You could call them trailblazers, or in tech terms, the “early adaptors.” Or, you could simply call them Don and Becky Kretschmann, farmers. That last categorization might do them the most justice, for they chose a profession entrenched in purpose and uncertainty.
Don and Becky carved an organic oasis from the rolling hills of Pittsburgh’s outskirts: Kretschmann Family Organic Farm. Certified organic long before it was vogue to do so, they not only planted a trail, but they, along with their daughter, Maria, (a fierce farmer in her own right), defended that trail, standing tall against industrial fracking corporations.
(They also bought a farm pup, but I’ll get to that in a moment.)
The Urban Farmer, my urban farmer, found himself with an opportunity to work at Kretschmann Family Organic Farms this past summer, an opportunity akin to letting a kid loose in a candy shop. It was a chance to see the dream- an economically viable, working organic farm on a pristine setting. He has become so at home there, I may have to re-dub him- The Farmer? The Rustbelt Farmer?
I had long wanted to visit the farm, to see my farmer in his new element, picking, strolling and beaming with a pride and happiness that only the land can bring him. Admittedly, he got me to clear my schedule quite abruptly when I heard news of a brand new pup, but I stand firm that my visit was imminent puppy or no puppy. So we spent two pleasant Sundays, strolling the steep hillside, watching the ripples of the pond, and watching our own pup in her version of heaven.
Kretschmann Family Organic Farm winds and sprawls over 80 acres, producing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables predominately for CSA’s (Community Sponsored Agriculture) and some wholesale customers. My Rustbelt Farmer returned home each week with the most beautiful cabbages, bittersweet turnips and hearty greens after his many delivery rounds, but the sweetest take home of them all? The orchard-grown apples and fresh-pressed cider. They offered an explosion of fall!
These apples deserve their own apple-themed menu!
And finally, the newest edition to the farm- Molly, a tiny, fluffy version of my furever baby, who will one day roam the fields with Don, surveying, hunting groundhogs, learning to respect the tiny buzzing “air kibbles” and probably, stealing sweet, sweet apple bites.
My Julep was pretty jealous, but she’ll always be my number one girl, and since she’s dog-aggressive, any chance we have to socialize her with a new pup warms my heart.
Nature and puppies… does it get any better?
Research more or less says no, it does not. Did you know interacting with puppies/dogs can hormonally fight depression? First of all, #duh, but second of all, give me allllllllllll the puppy snuggles. The same article mentions research linking interaction with nature to increased focus in patients with dementia. There’s absolutely zero playing it cool when it comes to how much I want to snuggle Molly’s face, and the research seems to point to the fact that I shouldn’t withhold my affection.
Here’s to my Rustbelt Farmer’s new endeavors and to many more hillside hikes and many, many, many more Aussie pup snuggles.