Thursday, June 21, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Farm Report, Not by Les Nessman

Farm day was a scorcher. 

So, imagine how glad we were when we were assigned "just the pack, ma'am, just the pack."

The farmer and interns were sitting around the packing area, looking at a pile of kohlrabi when we arrived. At 1:30 they all looked like they had used up one of their nine lives. Have I mentioned that the farmer is in her early 60's? Important note. They had been working since 8:30. The temperature was low 90's and there was some pre-hoped-for-rain-humidity in the air. They'd killed beetles and removed damaged leaves. They'd picked, they'd weeded. The farmer made an organic veggie lunch for them and they'd just recharged.

We exchanged niceties and the details of the pack and the washing and box wrangling commenced.  The farmer grabbed her hat and gloves and the twenty-something interns sighed, stood up and grabbed theirs. "Off to pick more kohlrabi." The farmer chirped on her way out. 

An hour later the door opened letting in the blazing sun and bringing women bearing armloads of octopus like veggies. They dumped them, soaked up a little cool air in the cold room, came out into our area wiping their faces on their arms. 

"Ready girls?" The farmer said. In her hand rested two packets of seeds. "It's going to rain tomorrow. I want to get these seeds in." 

The interns followed. I may have seen one mouth "Help Me!" over her shoulder as she exited the protected cocoon. 

This was a long pack. We didn't get home til after 7:00. We packed the last bits of broccoli and early harvest of beans, the last of the snap peas, lettuce, kale, chard, beets, garlic, a kohlrabi or turnip, and some cabbage found it's way into a few boxes. Oh, rhubarb, can't forget that little addition. As I've sung the praises of volunteers benefiting from the less-than-perfect produce extras I took the discarded ends and not so beautiful chunks, and so far I've gotten 8 cups of chopped fruit and I expect to get another pie's worth out of the rest. Three pies for a little elbow grease...Hmmm I think that's a deal. But, as per usual, I digress.

Our box was full. And we worked hard. But we didn't do diddly compared to the farmer and her interns. They came back two more times for seeds. If it was going to rain, by golly, those seeds were going into the ground. They'd gulp water or green tea and scarfed their snacks.  Each time I saw them, they seemed a little more wilted. But not the farmer.

I've mentioned the nibbling that goes on in the garden? The farmer grazes, and we follow her example. I can't back this claim,but I'm pretty sure organic vegetables are super juice and that doing what you love is 220 voltage energy. Gotta be. Because if she didn't love this, the farmer would be insane. 

And the farmer got her beautiful rain. And we will all benefit from her diligent work in a few short weeks. And it's awesome to see tough Iowa stock in action. When I'm 60 I want to make 20-somethings sweat and grow weak in the knees, too. Gotta eat more organic veggies.