Brian Lavendel

Brian Lavendel is a freelance environmental journalist who grows his own veggies in Madison, Wis.

A former stock trader learns how to really pick 'em

It’s an overcast day outside of Stoughton, Wis., the village that claims to have invented the “kaffee break.” But a warm cup of java seems far, far away from Pleasant Hill Market Garden, where farmer Rob Baratz fights off the early morning, chilled wind with gritted teeth and a hand-rolled cigarette. Baratz, up on the farm. Brian Lavendel. I find him out harvesting a few late strawberries, seemingly out of place on this early fall day. “It’s been a hard season,” he confesses, then quickly adds, “weatherwise, I mean.” Baratz, 40, lives on the farm with his wife and nine-year-old …

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