This is very sad. While the prognosis for a full recovery is good, Guillermo was badly injured on Monday when a drunk driver hit him while he was out jogging with a friend.
The news from LocalHarvest.org is:
I am writing with sad but hopeful news. On Monday evening, while out jogging with a friend, Guillermo Payet was hurt in a hit and run accident involving a drunk driver. For those of you who are new to LocalHarvest, Guillermo is the site's founder, president, and champion. He is also a great man.
Guillermo was thrown to the pavement by the car, and hit his head. G. has spent the last few days in intensive care at the hospital in Santa Cruz. The good news is that his prognosis for a complete recovery is very good. He has great care and is in an excellent hospital. Meanwhile, though, it will likely be some months before he is again running at full capacity.
Knowing that many of you are fond of Guillermo and will be saddened by his misfortune, I wanted to write and let you know how you can be kept abreast of his progress. I also wanted to let you know how you can help.
G's friends have set up a blog-style web site at http://www.gpayet.info. Since it's a blog, you will have to scroll to the bottom to get the original story. In terms of offering your support, there are three main things that would be most valuable. First, the LocalHarvest (LH) site and its members mean the world to G. He has devoted his life to making LH work. He has committed everything to the idea of leveraging technology to support the family farmers of LocalHarvest. Hearing from you would be very meaningful to him.
You can send him electronic messages here: http://www.gpayet.info/?p=11. If you want to send a card, you could mail it to Guillermo Payet, 220-21st Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95062.
On behalf of Guillermo's family, thank you for sending Guillermo your good thoughts and your prayers for his full recovery. Thank you, too, for your patience over the next few months while Tere and I keep LocalHarvest growing until Guillermo returns.
I have said many times that Local Harvest is my favorite website, ever, for so many reasons. I love maps, I love farms, and I love how Guillermo has put the farmers on the map, so to speak. I've steered people looking for a CSA to the website: just stick in your zip code, and voilà! I used LocalHarvest last April to find a farm in San Diego, which turned out to be one of the most amazing farms I've ever visited.
Last spring, when Nancy Redwine of the Santa Cruz Sentinel stumbled onto my blog, I asked her if she knew about Local Harvest. Guillermo had just made it onto her radar, and she wrote a wonderful article about him in July. From that article:
Four years ago, Payet, a software engineer, created Local Harvest, a national Web site that helps supermarket-weary masses find the real food, including organic fruits, vegetables and grains, herbs, seeds, grass-fed beef, and heritage turkeys.
A virtual community of farms, farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, and vendors of all manner of sustainably raised and produced treasures, Local Harvest is in full blossom.
(Go read the whole thing. It's great.)
After nearly two years of visiting the Local Harvest website, I finally met Guillermo last spring.
Guillermo is, among other things, a genius. I have known a few in my lifetime, but I have known few to be happy. His genius is in not only the technical realm: his commitment to Open Source software and his understanding of the technology have allowed the capabilities of the Local Harvest website to grow and grow. I remember telephoning him when I was up in Redwood City, asking him if there was a farmers market around there. I could hear the wheels turning as he said (in his beautiful voice): "Right now there is no way to search the database by day of the week, but I can add that in. It shouldn't be a problem. And what a great idea!"
But more than anything, Guillermo has the genius for being happy. Every time I visited with Logan, Guillermo was the most wonderful playmate for the boy. He would get out his motorcycle helmets and put one on Logan, and then play swordfight with him, letting Logan take wild swings that would "knock him down." Logan would be shrieking with laughter, and the games went on and on. He would take Logan out into his little chicken coop—we came over shortly after the Fourth of July to see that one of the white chickens was sporting red and blue paint, in celebration of the holiday.
One of the funniest things I've ever seen was when Guillermo showed me how he handled people linking to photos on his website (stealing bandwidth and giving no credit). He said, "I found one guy over the hill who was using one of our farm photos on his blog in a post claiming that small family farmers are extortionists. I have a script that detects unauthorized use of our photos, and it substitutes links automatically. For this guy, I found the most disgusting photo you can imagine, and it pops up on his blog instead." He clicked a link, and I found myself howling with laughter, despite being completely revolted by the sight of a seriously gangrenous foot appearing at the head of the blog's article: " 'Family' Farms Are Extortionists." So Guillermo is light incarnate, but is not above using some dark humor to make his point.
(The blogger has since edited his post, linking to steal someone else's bandwidth and use their images without permission. As you can imagine, I think little of his politics and less of his thievery, though the two seem to go hand in hand.)
Another wonderful Guillermo did was the Bike2Barn tour he made with a friend: they motorcycled down through California, and visited farms along the way, blogging as they went. He told me, "It's really all about the stories of these people. You understand that." The plan was to grow LocalHarvest enough to be able to hire people to do what I'm doing: visit farms all over the country and tell their stories via the Local Harvest website. Sort of an über-blog. Hopefully that day will come.
There are just not words to describe how wonderful and funny and sweet and kind and generous Guillermo Payet is. He's one of the most amazing people I've ever known, on every level. He's a visionary with heart, and his brilliance is uplifting.
Anyway. This news makes me terribly sad, though thank goodness Guillermo will be okay.
In a timely coincidence, I have been planning to visit the hospital where Guillermo is staying, because there is a chef there doing something amazing. More on that soon.
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I guess about twenty people or so believed that my blog has the power to awaken evil evil Monsanto from its cancerous and greedy delusion, and they didn't read the post subsequent to the April Fool's Day one. I really thought it was the most transparent April Fool's joke ever, but I guess not.
But the other part of the post was true: Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Market has hired me to redesign their website. I've visited a couple of new markets in the past week or so, including the lovely little Thursday market at Monterey Peninsula College. A break in the dreary weather last week and yesterday had me jonesing for a farm, but all the farms are too wet. So I headed down the coast to photograph this market, which is a good mid-sized market.
I came home yesterday with some fresh red bell pepper linguine from Pensi Pasta, and a couple of lemon thyme plants from Cole Canyon. Last week, it was a pound of maitake mushrooms, some asparagus, and blood oranges. Hey, did you know that male asparagus is skinny and female asparagus is plump? I buy only the plump now, since I took a cooking class that showed how wonderful it is to peel, blanch, and sauté in beurre noisette (brown butter). Top with lemon juice and some pecorino: heaven.
Anyway, it's a wonderful gig, and I'm enjoying it completely. Catherine Barr, who manages the markets, has been doing her job, "my dream job," for fourteen years, and she's great at it. The Saturday market at Aptos is the best one in the county, by far, in my opinion. (Oh, sure, downtown has great vendors but you have to deal with the scene (bongos and patchouli, among other things).
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Here's wishing dear Guillermo a swift and complete recovery. You are beloved, Guillermo. And I'll repeat what I said to you before: "Words do not exist to describe your fabulousness."
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY, which is the sig line on all Guillermo's e-mails. "Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day." — E.B.White
Thanks for visiting. More soon.