Charles and Camilla charm the Point Reyes Station Farmer’s Market and impress organic growers

Editor’s Note: As the world focuses on the death of Queen Elizabeth II September 8, 2022, and his son Charles ascending to the throne, we look back on the November 5, 2005 visit of the Royal Family, Prince Charles and Camilla, to Point Reyes Station.

A prince who frequently complains of being misunderstood by his own countrymen came to the West Marin Farmers Market on Saturday and found his people.

Never mind polling figures showing that 80% of Americans have little interest in the eight-day visit to the United States by the Prince of Wales and his new wife, Camilla.

For Prince Charles, who has been described as something of an ‘Edwardian hippie’ due to his deep concern for progressive issues ranging from organic farming to alternative medicine and global warming, there was no cold indifference in North Bay.

The next in line to the British throne, frequently shunned in his own country for being eccentric and irrelevant, has been embraced by several thousand people in tiny Point Reyes resort as one of their own – a like-minded progressive and just a another farmer in the crisp gray suit and navy blue tie with the royal insignia.

For them, the prince puts an important celebrity face on their cause.

“The problem is they say you can’t feed the world that way…. (but) gradually we are realizing that farmers have a very important role to play,” the prince said while chatting with vendors at the all-organic Point Reyes Farmer’s Market.

It was his first stop on a three-day swing through the Bay Area, where he and the Duchess of Cornwall will watch a performance of the irreverent Beach Blanket Babylon and visit Martin Luther King’s edible schoolyard. Middle School in Berkeley.

Prince Charles has long been a supporter of environmental causes and sustainable farming practices. He controls some 135,000 acres, much of it organic farmland in the South West of England, where he has also developed an eco-village near Dorchester.

“I know people who make fun of him for talking to his plants, but I also talk to my plants and they love it. They’re very healthy,” Tiburon’s Delia Dobson said with a laugh. is a British ex-patriot who pulled a giant Union Jack flag from her rear deck and lowered it to wave behind security barriers as the prince and Camilla, hatless and dressed in simple business suits- dark pants, pulled up in a black Mercedes limo to the applause of the crowd.

Gospel Flat Farm’s Don Murch said that when Charles and Camilla stopped by his booth and discussed the floors, he was so disarmed that he completely forgot about the bow he had been practicing for several days.

“I just didn’t think about it. He was so friendly. We met on a perfectly human level. He didn’t play the prince card,” he said.

Traders were stunned when the visit turned out to be much more than a 15-minute photo op before the couple headed south to Bolinas to visit several organic farms, including Warren Weber’s Star Route Farms. There they had a catered lunch and more serious discussions about agriculture with leaders of the local organic farming community.

The couple spent more than an hour leisurely wandering among the produce, stopping at each stall and exchanging a few words with each farmer, even backtracking when they missed one.

“Do you invent new recipes?” Charles asked Julie Evans, taking a jar of her Point Reyes Preserve Apricot Jam and sniffling. He commented that she was getting a lot of business and showed particular interest in pickled garlic until Camilla suggested it would be bad for her breath.

And although the 58-year-old Duchess was never known as a trailblazer, she launched a run on Moonflowers lavender rose moisturizer after selecting a jar on the advice of Melanie Heffernan, whose parents own of the company specializing in herbal crafts. body products.

Charles insisted on paying the $20 pot, said Saskia Purrett, another British transplant recipient who worked at the stand.

“They wanted to settle with everyone,” she said. “They wanted to be very fair.”

While the market was closed to the public during the visit, the royal couple made a point of walking along the barricades to shake hands, accept bouquets of flowers and exchange pleasantries.

“You’ve been here too long in the hot sun,” Prince Charles told a group of red-faced women who had been waiting for a few hours for a front row seat and a chance to shake his hand.

“He has a very direct way of communicating. He looked me straight in the eye and it was very sincere – and as a psychotherapist, I can say that,” said Lagunitas market regular Ginny Johnson.

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