A Year of Change at Persephone Farm
Many of you know that Jeff Falen, founder of Persephone Farm, was born with a genetic immune deficiency (xla, or X-linked agammaglobulinemia), which has always had a big impact on his life. His body doesn't make antibodies, so he is more vulnerable to infection than most of us are, and he also has a harder time getting over infections. Through a combination of receiving regular infusions of immune globulin (yay blood donors) and antibiotic medications, he has, incredibly, lived to age 62. He has had many difficulties and many joys.
Recently Jeff has been experiencing some additional complications due to his condition, including a liver condition called nodular regenerative hyperplasia. His daily activities have been affected and he can no longer devote the kind of energy to farming which he has in the many years since 1985. Jeff's partner in farming and in life, Elanor O'Brien, has also shifted her focus away from full-time farming in order to spend time helping Jeff enjoy the best health possible.
This season Theo Ciszewski and Erin Proctor, two fine young people living and working at the farm, will manage a smaller and simpler version of Persephone. We regret that we will be unable to sell at the Portland Farmers Market or at the Salem Saturday Market in 2019. Farmers' Market stands, while productive and satisfying for us on so many levels, are a complicated phenomenon, and growing the variety of crops necessary to support them is also complex. In 2019 one way we hope to survive as a small farm is to simplify our crop and marketing mix. Persephone will continue to supply many Portland area stores and restaurants, including Peoples Food Coop, Hot Lips Pizza, It's Alive Foods, and Pixie Retreats, and we will sell at the Hollywood Farmers Market. We will also supply Lifesource Natural Foods in Salem, and we will grow overwintering savoy cabbage for wholesale through Organically Grown Company, a fine business which has supported Persephone since its first year in 1985. And Persephone will still be certified Organic as it has been from the beginning.
Clearly this is a big change for all of us. We have known some of you since 1992, our first year at Portland Farmers' Market, and some since 1999, our first year at Salem. We can remember meeting many of you for the first time then. The intervening years have seen children born and grown into fabulous adults, as well as many other significant events in our lives. We do not take any of this lightly, and we love and appreciate you all as dear friends and a part of our community.
We are grateful for your support of local, seasonal produce. Every one of you is a part of the reason that Persephone Farm has persisted for thirty-four years.
Elanor and Jeff