BY DAVID WILLARD
It’s an interesting detail that in 1850 the U.S. population was sitting at 23.2 million. During that same time, there were 1.4 million working farms in the United States. In 1940, the population in the U.S. grew to 131.8 million people, and the number of active farms had increased to 6.1 million farms. Today, the U.S. population sits at about 329 million. However, the number of active farms sits at approximately two million. Bottom line, farming as an industry and as a livelihood is certainly not a first choice for individuals for life and career paths that it used to be. Hard work and dedication may not be the road to success in farming.
Therefore, it takes something else to choose this lifestyle and career path. It takes a love of farming…in its truest form. It is in this knowledge that the farmers markets of today show their true heart and shine. Farmers markets, with vendors aplenty from small farms across the area, bring not only great, fresh produce and other products, but also stories of those who love what they do. This month’s Famers Tales is spotlighting Truzzi’s Bath and Body, located in Stokesdale, NC. However, they make their farmers market home at The Triad Farmers Market.
“I got involved with horses when our children were young, which led to our desire to have a homestead farm. We raise our own food and keep livestock in a rotational grazing method, where everything has to ‘earn its keep.’ We’ve raised pigs, turkeys, chickens, and guineas. We originally had horses and cows on our very hilly property, but sought animals with a smaller footprint, and we settled on goats and sheep. We definitely seek to leave the land better than we found it,” says Terri Petruzzi, owner of Truzzi’s Bath & Body.
“In keeping with every animal needing to earn its keep, our dairy goats help to keep woodland brush and weeds down while providing milk for us, which we use raw or make cheese and soap and lotions,” she continues. Terri Petruzzi started her business in 2009, as a result of wanting to combine her “love of science with her love of using what God has given us in creation.” Today, her products include goat’s milk, local wild-harvested honey, essential oils, and healing botanicals.
“The farmers market is a perfect venue to meet customers directly and gives the opportunity to answer questions about our product, its ingredients, and the farm. It’s something you don’t really get at a local store or department store or online shop,” she adds. “At a farmers market, you naturally find similar products sold by different farms – tomatoes, for example. But each individual farm may have a different way of growing which gives it its flavor or longevity. Same with soap. Not all soap is created equal. We each have our own formula which contributes to its cleansing and moisturizing factors, creativity with fragrance and eye appeal, and how long the bar lasts,” she further comments.
“I am a daughter, wife, mom, grandmother who enjoys life, my Lord, my family, animals, and working with my hands,” Petruzzi concludes. This is who Terri Petruzzi is, and this is her farming story. It is unique, and it is important because it has brought her to our community and to one of our farmers markets, adding to the tapestry of vendors and farmers who bring us even more farmers’ tales in months to come.