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Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ What Does it Take to Bring a Pound of Produce to the Table? SWEAT

If you ever go to a Farmer's Market and experience the temptation to complain about the price of organic food...don't.

I now have some insight into what kind of work brings food to our tables.

At 1:30 p.m. I entered a greenhouse. Not a big deal. Unless, said greenhouse is in the middle of a farm in the middle of a record breakingly hot day in May. The greenhouse increases the temperature by about 15 degrees, and this particular one also sported no ventilation save for two small "windows" at the ends of the house. It was so hot in the greenhouse that stepping outside into the humid 87+ degrees felt like heaven on earth. Not kidding. I drank at least two quarts of water while cutting lettuce.

Cutting lettuce. A knife, gloves and a squat. Seven different kinds of lettuce, and brazings, and spinach. Then onto the garlic. We didn't have to pick asparagus or rhubarb, that had already been done. Three of us
harvested leafy greens for 20 CSA boxes. For about three hours.

After three hours in the greenhouses, high tunnel and field we were able to wash and pack = fwo hours. So, five hours times three people to harvest and prep 20 boxes worth of fruit and veggies, plus half the time the farmer was helping. I'm talking a lot of man hours to bring a small box of produce to those who signed up. And that is just the harvesting....th
ere is the planting, the weeding, the watering. Oy. And the upkeep -- the 60-year-old female farmer spent the lettuce cutting time wiring a fence so she could plant more tomatoes.

Each pre-purchased full share (550.00 for the season = 22 weeks of produce) comes to approx $25.00 bucks a week. Hmmmm. Our hard earned box contained 4 pounds of pesticide/chemical-free produce, and a lot of sweat. Come July the boxes will be pounds and pounds of tomatoes and zucchini and cucumbers etc. I'm thinking that a CSA is a stinking bargain!

Seriously, the next time you meet an organic farmer, shake that farmer's hand and give them a double thumbs up. They EARN every dime they make.


Kim said...

Kelly -
I grew up on a farm of acres and acres of fresh produce. I doubt it qualified as totally organic, but it was pretty close! I remember thinking that something was seriously wrong if mom ever bought anything in a can home from the grocery store! My dad was a teacher, so his summers "off" from the classroom were spent raising crops for his family. Our basement had many, many boxes filled with quart jars of fresh produce, and the freezer was filled with more of the same - and our home grown beef!

Reading your entry reminds me how rich I was growing up! Thanks for the reminder!

Kelly Klepfer said...

Wow, Kim. We moved to an acreage when I was 12. There were lots of unique opportunities for chores, and other adventures. We didn't do huge gardens. Always busy, always projects but we did avail ourselves of cans from the grocery store. I do love the experience we had on the acreage. Thanks for sharing your memories.