Farm Fresh by Posy Roberts is a daring novel that takes on both ménage and the polyamory lifestyle and a wealth of other thoughtful ideas about just what it means to love and nurture another person. Be prepared, this is not your traditional monogamous m/m romance. In fact, it is not strictly m/m. Farm Fresh has almost every combination of lovers under the sun and it handles each one with care, compassion, and an almost wide-eyed wonder.
The story is fairly straightforward. Several years ago, Leo began a commune type existence with two others who have since left. In that time, Leo has grown the community to support a wide variety of people all invested in living off the land and leaving it better then they found it. Determined to minimize or eradicate their carbon imprint and live in a healthy, non-judgmental society, all the members of Kaleidoscope Gardens practice uncensored forms of living. Often preferring partial or full on nudity, sex is practiced whenever and wherever between two or more consenting adults. Two of Leo’s housemates are Charlie and Hudson. Both these men escaped abusive families and are continually trying to come to terms with the demons left behind from such careless and damaging upbringings. The story focuses mainly on Hudson, who has been nurturing a deep sense of loss since their fourth housemate, Matt, left the commune and essentially broken Hudson’s heart in the process. While he loves both Charlie and Leo, he is not “in love” with either of them. so there is a place deep inside Hudson that craves a man to have for his own.
Every week when Hudson takes the farm produce to sell at market, a young man visits his table. Shy and quiet, Jude is a fourth year student at the local university—he is also incredibly shut off from his own sexuality due to horrendous abusive practices and shaming by his ultra-conservative Christian parents. Jude desperately wants to be free—free from the doubt, the self-hate, the shame he always has been taught to associate the sex act with from a very young age. Jude also likes Hudson—a lot. When an opportunity comes available for Jude to join the commune on a trial basis, he leaps at it and ends up becoming the new fourth in the Charlie/Leo/Hudson ménage. But Jude is hard pressed to relax enough to embrace the idea of free love and when he begins to experiment. it nearly destroys Hudson and any chance the two of them may have to become more than just housemates.
I wish I could tell you that the above synopsis does this intricate plot justice—believe me, it pales in comparison to the beauty of this story. What author Posy Roberts does in this very brave novel is extend the idea that love can be simple, sweet. and freeing. The community she builds does not tolerate jealousy or exclusivity—and yet some of their couples are just that—couples that may or may not welcome a third into their sexual play occasionally. Yes, there is a lot of sex—but all within the confines of creating this place—this welcoming haven for those who dare to love beyond the normal restrictions of what society dictates.
Hudson and Jude are so conflicted, so shaped by their equally restrictive and condemning pasts that it’s almost torture to see them trying to come to terms with their mutual attraction. They stumble around each other, inflicting pain while trying to actually experiment with love and I found myself wanting to scream at the two of them to just speak what was in their hearts. But this author doesn’t leave us hanging or inflict us with empty angst just for fun. Instead, she allows us to be part of both Hudson and Jude’s transformation and we cannot help but fall in love with her wounded and needy characters.
I was stunned by the depth of care taken in every chapter of this book. This was a work of love from an author whose only hope is that in the reading of her imaginative story, we the spectators would find some comfort ourselves—some hope that despite our own hang ups, our own possible woundedness, we would find comfort. While I am by no means a fan of ménage or multiple partnering, I found myself drawn into this story, emotionally captured, and left smiling at the turn of the last page.
Farm Fresh by Posy Roberts is a carefully constructed story of love, loss, redemption, and hope. I highly recommend it to you.