Monday, May 14, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Mysterious Farm Fun

Late breaking farm report. 

Ha. Ha. Just call me Les Nessman. If you don’t get that, WKRP in Cincinnati. If that doesn’t do anything for you, then just move on, there’s nothing for you to see in this paragraph, folks.

The farm was abounding in a plethora of produce once again. (Yes. Blew through two vocab words there.) This time there was no picking for us. We jumped into the washing/packing mode immediately. We were a bit short-staffed. The CSA has grown considerably since last year. Tuesdays of 2011 involved 12 or 13 whole shares and 12 or 13 half shares depending on the day. We had three/four packers/pickers working most Tuesdays.

2012 brings 12 whole shares and 27 half shares. Uh, yeah. Let me break down what a share is. A community supported or sustained agriculture share (CSA) is a fixed price and a fixed number of weeks. A purchaser buys a full share which costs our subscribers $550 for the season or a half share which is $300. (I may be slightly off, but those are the numbers I’m using. So deal. Ha. Ha.) This fee is paid upon entering into the relationship and guarantees the farmer a seasonal income and gives her some upfront money to buy seeds, pay staff, buy wood chips, fencing, all that stuff that goes into running a farm.) In exchange the purchaser gets a box (or a box+ during produce busting weeks). The half share is exactly half of a full share. So if a full share gets a pound of asparagus, the half share gets ½.  Our share is a volunteer share which means we work our little fingers to the bone for our goodie box. (If you want this kind of arrangement in your neck of the woods google CSA in your town and ask if they do volunteer shares, so worth it especially if you love getting dirty etc.)  Another benefit to our arrangement is that sometimes we have extras that we can take like mildly bruised, misshapen or superabundant goodies.) The full shares work out to about 25 bucks a week. This prepurchases pounds of produce. Example last Tuesday = a pound of asparagus. ½ pound of spinach, lettuce (each), a handful of radishes and green garlic. A Napa cabbage that weighed about three pounds, kale and chard and some rosemary and sage. And all of this is as fresh and local as it gets and ORGANIC. Yeah. Definitely worth the price. Especially when it works out to about $4.00 a pound. And this was a light week.

Okay back to my original story. So washing, packing and sorting for 39 boxes. Oy. Let’s just say it took awhile. Oh. We get a trail mix snack that is lovingly put together by one of the Farmers, I am going to call her Grasshopper because she learns well from #1 Farmer (another cultural/media  reference…) And sun tea. :  ). We expect this. Trust me. And she delivers.

While we were packing away the #1 Farmer came in from the field and dropped into a chair. She picked the entire five hours that we little mice prepped. She ate her snack.

And then we entered the Twilight Zone. Strange things began to happen.

#1 Farmer suddenly noticed little grubs on her hand. We see bugs. Every week. Some are good bugs like the Lady Bugs who are escorted back out into the big outdoors. Others are quickly dispatched. Most items are immersed in water, spun dried, handled several times and packed. So these mystery bugs? None of us had seen them, knew from whence they came or what their mission was. Like they just materialized from the air. Mystery #1. Then as we began closing up the boxes and loading them into their proper place, #1 Farmer lifted one and water poured out of it. Not dripped, poured. Everything stopped. We stared at it. I think each of us kind of wondered if the water might turn into blood or pea soup or grubs or something equally disturbing. Being a practical woman, the farmer opened the box, took out the contents and looked at the bags. Nothing. Mystery #2.

Driving home we scanned the horizon for unfamiliar landmarks and reoccurring visuals of black cats. (media reference...Matrix – again, if you don’t get it, just move forward.)

On Wednesday Mystery #2 was solved when & picked up a peeing carton. The Napa cabbage...the little buggars held their water well. Actually, not so well. But with comic timing and slightly awkward results.