I noticed there were only two streets, and both were busy with trucks. So, I asked the girl at a local sandwich shop (the only open restaurant other than McDonald’s at 8 p.m.) where I might go for a run in the morning. She suggested the track at the local high school. “It’s open 24 hours a day,” she said. No locks required around here.
It’s 5 a.m. on day two—the day I visit the farm. If you, like me, worry about education in America, then a trip out to rural Utah would do you some good. There may be only two stop signs and one traffic light in the whole county, but there’s a full construction team at work building a new, first-rate high school with some of the nicest sports facilities I’ve seen in quite a while. This was a good sign about the quality of life around here.
After a quick shower, I head to the Rancher, the only other hotel nearby, for breakfast. This is where I will meet Elend and Olivia LeBaron, family operators of our farm. I’m immediately struck by the two of them. They are around the same age as my wife and I, and they hold themselves with a certain dignity that I don’t see that often. Immediately, I realized that I’m not just meeting a supplier or writing a story—I’m making friends.
Time passes quickly for us at the restaurant. We’re talking about our kids. I have four, which feels like a lot until I learn that they have 10. We’re talking about travel, triumphs and failures we’ve experienced. And Elend and I are relating a lot on what we both hold most sacred in our lives—our roles as husband and father. They are unpretentious and straightforward. Conversation flows easily, until we suddenly realized that it’s 10 a.m. and we’ve not seen the first farm. But good news—the oat grass is being harvested this morning. If we hurry, we can see the combine at work.