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The Crop Report | Heartfelt Hand-Me-Downs

The crop report this week was going to be some big news. Stuff we have been working on behind the scenes for some time now. I have been patiently waiting to share. But this week the most unexpected thing happened that feels almost kismet. So I’m going to have to tell this story first.

Friday evening after work I strolled into the house to find a mountain of mail waiting to be sorted between business and personal. Among the letters and boxes was a small package addressed to Harmony harvest with my name below. A last name and address in Connecticut were the only identity this package carried. Intrigued, I opened it up and found two old, out-of-print, hardbound books, and a couple of folded papers with a notecard. The card featured a picture on the front, looking to be from a few decades ago, of endless fields of mums. Inside was a simply written message in beautiful cursive by a lady named Ms. Patti. She had seen the story of our love of Heirloom Chrysanthemums which was featured in her local paper. She said that once she read it she knew that she had found the perfect place to send her brother Jerry’s books. The bottom of the note left just the simple statement that no thank you was needed as this was a personal mission.

I opened the other slips of paper to see the National Chrysanthemum society’s eulogy for the passing of Jerry Heresko, the owner of Bristol mums in Connecticut, as well as a local clipping celebrating what he had done for the mum world.

I pulled the books from the box- one written by Alex Cumming, the other by Roderick Cumming, and signed with delight for Jerry. I spent my weekend reading those books cover to cover and learning so much more about my beloved chrysanthemum. More information than I had been able to discover in the past few years combing the internet was in those books. These two authors were some of the top contributors to the beginning of hardy Chrysanthemum culture, and sweet Jerry, I later found, was the understudy absorbing it all. Jerry passed in 2009. Boy, wouldn’t I have loved to meet him!

But if not Jerry, then the best would be to connect with his sweet sister, who sent the books. I’m no detective, but I was pretty impressed with my own sleuth skills when I found her number and gave her a ring. I was also glad Ms. Patti saw my attempts to locate her as a sweet gesture, and not as creepy as the entire farm team told me it was when I shared the story. We chatted for a good hour, reminiscing over memories of taking cuttings and shipping them out as a family. It felt like home talking with her. Jerry didn’t have any kids. Ms. Patti told me he considered the mums his children, but right now I hope from heaven he claims me. I feel like his understudy now, digging into this lost history so we can share it and help grow from it. I suspect there are more stories and discoveries collecting dust, and as I told Ms. Patti, it’s now my personal mission to find them and share them.

XOXO, Jess

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