CHIMACUM — Good things can happen if you give it time, Peter Mustin’s mother Eileen has told him.
Today, on the eve of Juneteenth, Mustin stands in the middle of a 24-acre good thing: Woodbridge Farm, where he and his fellow community advocate, Grace Love, are about to have a celebration. The combined energy of two Black-owned businesses will converge with a party on Saturday, a get-together Mustin, Love and a crew of volunteers dreamed up and organized.
Love planted the seed with a social media post in late May.
“Every day, we are making strides to better our community by acknowledging that there is much work to do around social justice,” she wrote.
Love “would like to focus on healing with unity,” and a gathering for “the local Black community to come and just be and eat and nourish themselves, while opening the door to our extended community to come with respect, and intentions of peace and fellowship.”
The event reached full capacity, with some 75 people RSVPing, including 20 volunteers, Love said Thursday.
When she says come eat and nourish yourself, she’s not messing around. Love, 35, is owner and operator of Nadine’s Kitchen, the catering and mobile-dining company named after her mother. As a chef, she’s known for Southern-inspired food with organic ingredients, including her Soul Drop biscuit mix.
Love’s website, Nadinessoulkitchen.com, introduces the mix along with her parallel career as a singer. Via the link “Grace, Music and Love” is information about her newest album, “Sing into the Dark” — “some songs raw, some songs produced.”
In addition to preparing the Juneteenth meal, Love’s band will play Saturday at the farm.
“Yeah, I’m an insane person. It’s go big or go home,” she quipped.
Mustin’s approach is similar. With business partner Cameron Jones, he set out last year to turn Woodbridge Farm (woodbridgefarm.net) into a growing concern.
His dream includes flowers, poultry and a Chimacum Creek-fed wildlife refuge.
During the past several months, the men have been making it happen, clearing away the debris that cluttered the land, gathering donations from supporters and purchasing an orange Kubota tractor.
“This thing saved my life,” Mustin, 46, said of the machine, which helped him prepare his land for planting.
He also credits his mom, naturally: “When I was growing up,” he said, “she always told me to be patient.”
Earlier this month, Mustin raised an old flagpole that had lay on the ground at Woodbridge Farm. From it he now flies a Black Lives Matter flag and a rainbow flag with a raised fist.
A neighbor called to thank him for raising a Pride flag, June being Pride month. Mustin laughed and admitted he’d forgotten it was already that time of year.
He said he appreciated that for another reason: When Mustin lived in Philadelphia, he enjoyed the liveliness of the city’s Gayborhood, home of the annual Pride parade and numerous LGBTQ-friendly businesses.
When asked what he thought of President Joe Biden signing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, the bill making June 19 a federal holiday, Mustin smiled again.
“I’m excited about that,” he said, while for him, “it always was a holiday.”
Love, for her part, said Saturday’s gathering — and the growth of her culinary art, her music and the farm — show what can be accomplished with limited resources.
“Imagine what we could do with more community support,” she said.
Last year, as Juneteenth approached, Mustin had envisioned a celebration like the one to take place Saturday.
It’s what Woodbridge Farm is for, after all.
“My main mission is to share it with people,” he said, “especially on Juneteenth.”
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]