What is community? David Spangler says,” Some people think they are in community, but they are only in proximity. True community requires commitment and openness. It is a willingness to extend yourself to encounter and know the other.” Robert Kennedy had an even grander image when he stated his vision of community by saying, “It is not more bigness that should be our goal. We must attempt, rather, to bring people back to the warmth of community, to the worth of individual effort and responsibility, and of individuals working together as a community, to better their lives and their children’s future.”
It is in these views of community that we can see what many in our area already know and put into practice in their own lives, which is that the world is so much greater and our lives so much more plentiful if we “live” in a community and not just a house on a piece of land. In fact, these visions of community can be clearly seen when a trip is taken to a local farmers market. This month’s Farmers Tale focuses in on Robin Ann Westmoreland, as she introduces us to her little corner of the market.
Westmoreland owns and operates Occasional Cakes, a small bakery business that spends its weekends at a local farmers market off Sandy Ridge Road, and loves being part of the community it has created. “I am a mother of two great kids. I am a very people-oriented person, and I love to get out and talk to people, which is why I enjoy going to the farmers market as much as I do. It is a good opportunity to build my clientele up, get my name out there. I get to meet tons of people, which I really enjoy,” says Westmoreland.
Westmoreland started her baked goods business after deciding it was time to pursue her dream and make her passion her career. “It started out as a hobby, but then I left a retail job of 20 years to pursue my hobby full time, and here we are now. My goal is to one day have a storefront and be able to provide people a place to go and buy fresh baked goods! I have customers that will come every week and get them a cake for the week, so they have dessert,” she continues.
The drive that pushes her to pursue her dream and make it a reality is more than welcomed at the market; it is invited and even cultivated, like all good farms. “It is like a big family at the farmers market between the vendors. We all tell each other where to get certain products that one may be looking for. We all take care of each other and support each other. The customers are all important since most of them are local, and it’s all about locals supporting local businesses,” Westmoreland concludes.
Occasional Cakes and Robin Westmoreland are working, breathing examples of what makes a farmers market so unique and so important. It’s all about small farms and businesses coming together to not only sell their products and goods but also to lift each other and support each other. It is a community working to create even more of a sense of community for all those who stroll booth to booth during shopping hours, hoping to not only find the perfect dessert or tomato, but maybe a new friend that they can see every time they take a trip to their local farmers market.