Forty customers are about to descend on my organic farm to pick up their weekly share. And I’m panicking. Do I have enough stuff growing to even harvest this early in the season? My favorite volunteer, Lucinda, suggests cutting irises from the flower garden. I send her off to accomplish that while I clip handfuls of perennial herbs. I’ve already laid out heads of lettuce, bunches of spring garlic, bags of mixed greens, bundles of asparagus, and baskets of strawberries on a trestle table in the antique barn. That will have to do.
But let me back up. I’m Cameron Flaherty, a gawky former software developer missing the social-skills gene. About a year ago I lost my job in what the company called a reduction in force. My Great-Aunt Marie passed away a few years ago and Great-Uncle Albert had to have his foot amputated last summer. He called one day and offered me Attic Hill Farm.
“I figure with me out of the farming picture and you out of a job, why, it seems like a perfect match.” I could hear his smile over the phone from the classic New England village north of Boston.
I said Yes. I’d grown up spending summers with Albert and Marie and I loved the antique farmhouse and the fertile land. In short order my Norwegian Forest cat and I settled in on the farm last fall.
The customers start showing up at noon, local foods enthusiasts all. Felicity bounces in with her homemade market basket, her long gray braid hanging down her back, her tall taciturn ex-hippie husband Wes at her side. Alexandra, the idealistic college grad who looks like a Norse princess, brings her cloth bags and lots of energy. “Let’s join a community supported fishery! You should have chickens on the farm!” And of course Lucinda, who vowed to follow Barbara Kingsolver and eat only locally produced food for a year, which turns out not to be available in the jail cell she ends up in.
I’ve even taken on a Girl Scout volunteer, Ellie, who is working on her Locavore badge and turns out to be more resourceful than either of us imagined, and I’ve made arrangements to sell produce to Jake Ericsson, a sexy chef in town.
If I’d realized how hard farming is, I might not have taken Great-Uncle Albert up on his offer. And if I’d known how much schmoozing is involved in keeping customers happy, this introverted geek could have just said No. But if I’d understood that just as my first season got underway someone would be killed on my farm in my hoophouse with my pitchfork, I definitely wouldn’t have moved to Westbury and started an organic farm. But here I am, and I hope you’ll check out A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die and find out what happens next.
You can read more about Cameron in A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die , the first book in the new “Local Foods” mystery series.
Meet the author
Locavore Edith Maxwell’s Local Foods mysteries published by Kensington let her relive her days as an organic farmer in Massachusetts, although murder in the greenhouse is new. A fourth-generation Californian, she has also published short stories of murderous revenge, most recently in the Fish Nets and Thin Ice anthologies.
Edith Maxwell’s pseudonym Tace Baker authored Speaking of Murder. It features Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau and campus intrigue after her sexy star student is killed. Edith is a long-time Quaker and holds a long-unused doctorate in linguistics.
A mother and technical writer, Edith lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau and three cats.
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.