Yesterday we took a trip out to our beautiful CSA farm for their member appreciation day. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the gathering was more intimate and thought generating than I expected. We first gathered in a circle with the farmers and apprentices. Everyone shared something about their favorite vegetables or favorite farm living experiences. The apprentices talked about the camaraderie found in communal living and shared hard work.
Then we ate a feast prepared mainly with farm crops. Eggplant, tomato and polenta casserole, oat veggie fritters, lentil salad, green salad, beet salad, apple crisp made with "feral" apple trees, brownies...it was nice to eat and talk apprentices and with other members, some of whom have belonged to the farm since the beginning almost 20 years ago.
Finally, after brushing away yellow jackets and petting a few dogs, we took a farm tour. I met Richard the carrot tumbler and stood in the hot onion-curing greenhouse. The weather could not have been more gorgeous, with golden autumn sun and bright blue sky overhead. Some people diverged for the zendo tour held at the same time, in the big field behind the apprentice barn.
One woman told me that with the shorter days, they are often picking lettuce for an hour in early dawn light before the sun rises. It's cold in the mountain valley and their fingers get chilled.
This morning I woke up to rain. As I sautéed some beet greens with an egg for breakfast, I thought about those beautiful farmers, already picking in the rainy morning gloom so that I could eat this fresh food grown from the earth. They do have tractors, but they do most everything by hand. Planting, sowing, endless weeding, hoeing, harvesting, picking, sorting, washing, packing. Nourishing the land they work on and all the people they feed.