When the peach mecca of Michigan celebrates the fruit in downtown Romeo Labor Day weekend, the taste for pie and ice cream comes naturally. Alone for the holiday, I left laundry on the clothesline Saturday morning in pursuit of my slice a la mode.
En route, I turned south on Campground to Cold Frame Farm, making the most of my time and petrol. Every Friday and Saturday morning, Lisa Jaroch, co-owner and operator, blends a bread recipe handed down from an elderly gentleman that she’s perfected with rosemary. Be advised; she’s prone to sell out before noon.
Lisa also kneads a garlic-parmesan version for the cheese and garlic lover, and an onion poppy baguette. She keeps the bread warm on a tray under a tea towel.
Our little vegetable garden produces our favorites, however, Lisa offers a host of tomatoes, squash, and greens I find deliciously different. She also sells sunflowers and mixed bouquets including gorgeous dahlias. I regret there’s not one dahlia blooming in my gardens.
Lisa and her husband Matt also keep beehives and sell their raw honey. They include other artisan foods such as coffee and natural body products to support small, local businesses—one branch of their vision as farmers.
The couple also established a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) whereby folks sign up and pay in advance for their weekly orders throughout the harvest season. While I admired Lisa’s dahlias, a mother and her three little girls walked single file into the back of the barn.
“They’ve come to pick up their CSA order,” Lisa said. “They’re the sweetest children.”
You never know. Someday, one of those little girls might find herself behind Cold Frame Farm’s beautiful service counter.
After a pose for a picture with Lisa for old times’ sake, I drove into Romeo, found a parking spot, and walked into Starkweather Arts Center. Their gift shop never fails to tempt me with small pieces of handmade artwork perfect for gifts. A bonus is the annual Thumb Area Artist Exhibition now on show in the lower and upper galleries.
With my purchase in hand, I browsed several shops on Main Street and searched for pie and ice cream and an available bench or chair without success. Why not drive to Verellen’s Orchard on Monday after the parade instead?
This afternoon at 1:30 I waited for the drumbeat of Romeo High’s marching band. Families lined the curbs on both sides of Main Street. If ever you doubt that children love candy, show up for the Romeo Peach Festival parade and see for yourself.
At last, the large, perfectly synchronized band I remember from the mid 1990s led the several marching bands from surrounding communities. The lovely Peach Festival Queen, Madison Janabet, waved like the Queen of England.
Dear Reader, it’s impossible to feel alone when you belong to a community that adores sweet little children—and sustains a tradition that prizes peaches with an annual parade.
By the way, Verellen’s pie and ice cream were well worth the wait.
Contact Iris at firstname.lastname@example.org.