We Dig Vegetables
Week 8, 2009
Running a family farm certainly is an interesting dynamic. Our family is bound together by this farm. The farm is the reason we are all here and without this farm, we would surely be living in cities somewhere, distant from one another, working for someone else and for some other cause. At the end of the day, we all seem to love this life and the way that it brings us fulfillment, but it’s not always easy running a business as a family.
Everyone that I’ve ever known who was part of a family business seems to have the richest family life, yet also seems to have the most intense arguments, why is this? Does a balance need to be met between the peace and chaos and we’re just working at achieving balance when we argue or embrace? Our family is so closely bound together by the fundamental things in life such a food, clean air and clean water. We work for each other and we depend on each other. We share a passion for the goodness and greatness that rises up from the earth each year to feed and truly nourish our family. But the earth does not always appear to work in perfect harmony with us and we do not work in perfect harmony with each other all of the time, despite our rootedness to all that is pure and true on this farm or in this life.
Week 7, 2009
I can hardly believe that a whole week has passed. It feels like I blinked and then it was over.
I wanted to speak a bit about the quality of the produce that you receive. I know that when you pick up a cauliflower in your box and it looks nothing like any cauliflower that you’ve ever seen in any grocery store, you wonder to yourself, “what’s wrong with this cauliflower?”. I’m here to say that there is nothing wrong with your cauliflower, in fact, everything about it is perfectly right.
The grocery stores have imprinted into our minds what produce should look like. They’ve set appearance standards that concede to size, color, shape and weight. All of that glow has left us wondering how it was grown, who picked it, what was in the soil, what was sprayed on it, how long has it been since it was picked and oh, by the way, how will it taste? After all, we choose to buy cauliflower because we like the way it tastes. Our intuition tells us that if something looks good, it probably tastes good too. And most of the time, you would be right about that, but sometimes we’re fooled. You can certainly buy big red apples, obscenely large strawberries and voluptuous melons and citrus at the grocery store and when it comes home and you slice into it, you’re gravely disappointed in the flavor.
Week 6, 2009
Another smooth week on the farm that seemed to just slip on by. The days are still long but somehow they seem shorter than they should be. Morning are sung away by the song birds all around and the afternoons just mosey on off without even saying good by. I even wear a watch, but I have a hard time trusting the digital numbers that seems to spin like a speedometer on our farm truck. It’s hard to keep up with it all when you're chasing after the time.
This week was pleasant and surprisingly cool again. I give thanks for every day that passes below 85 degrees. We wake, we work, we rest and all of the chores, the weeding, the harvesting and the planting seems to just happen. I hardly can believe it all as the earth swells into life with gorgeous lettuce, stunning broccoli and amazing cauliflower. We watch as our year round efforts pay off with every cut of every stem at every harvest. Even as humble farmers who make a very modest living we feel so rich and lucky to live here, in the land of plenty. I will have to say that this is, by far, our best growing season yet as independent farmers on our own land. Never before has our gardens looked so good or given so much. I get the feeling sometimes that we must be doing something right!
Week 5, 2009
The cool weather this week was a pleasant break from the heat that allowed us to play catch up in the garden without melting in the hot sun. The lettuce favors cooler weather, so we lucked out getting to hold onto the lettuce an extra week or so. The lettuce will bolt, or start to go to seed when the weather gets to be too hot. We’re hoping to hold onto the lettuce for as long as possible because the fresh greens are a favorite for everyone.
This last weekend I went to vend for the first time at the Dane County Farmer’s Market in Madison on the Square. This was a bit of highlight of the week for me because we have been waiting for the opportunity to vend at this market for three years. Our farm has been on the waiting list for three years patiently waiting our turn for a slot to open up. If you have never been to the nations largest Farmer’s Market, I would highly recommend that you think about visiting it some time. It is such an inspiring event that takes place every Saturday on the square in Madison from 6am-2pm with swarms of local and fresh food lovers snatching up the highest quality produce available. You might even want to think about attending the September 26th Madison Market when Michael Pollen (author of Botany of Desire, Omnivores Dilemma and In Defense of Food) will be at the market giving a speech during a food festival being held on that date.