As we worked in muddy fields with the temperature in the 90s, high humidity and burning sun, we all agreed it would be a good thing if every person in the country spent time participating in agriculture to gain an appreciation for what ends up on their tables!
Good thing I wore those 40 year old boots of mine! They worked pretty well for walking through the deep mud in the fields from the heavy rains the night before.
I also wore a safari hat and big glasses to protect the skin on my face, especially my nose, which, after many childhood burns reacts unhappily to sun now. That much foresight I had! Unfortunately I didn’t plan as carefully for my backside as I bent over, planting rows of squash and melons. Now I have to wear padding inside the waistband for my jeans.
The biggest problem I had, though, was that I wasn’t quite prepared for dehydration. I’m just not a big liquid drinker, but I did bring lemon water, and I tried to push liquids. I don’t usually suffer from heat, and my endurance is very good for a 67-year-old woman, but the liquid thing got to me.
For a couple of hours of planting and hauling, I was just fine. Then I started to get dizzy when I stood up from putting a plant in the ground, then nausea set in, a little more forgetfulness than usual, then an accelerated heart rate (I have no heart issues whatsoever). Much to my surprise, since I’m one of those people who can’t go long without a bathroom, I didn’t need to visit the facility in the barn all morning. Well, now I know, and I plan to work harder at the water thing going forward.
Still, I learned a lot. In addition to learning about how important it is to stay well-hydrated whether I’m thirsty or not, I learned about how to work with certain kinds of plant containers. I always planted from seeds, not plants, when I had my organic garden in the country so many years ago. Yesterday we were planting from plants. The plants in several trays were in plastic containers instead of those dissolving cups. I had some difficulty getting the plants out and tapped a few, which disrupted the roots. Bob showed me how to squeeze them, popping the plants right out, intact.
I learned about Kevlar, “the amazing super-strong bulletproof material made by DuPont.” Bob loaned me a pair of gloves with the palms in Kevlar so that I could pull thistles from the rows that had been planted the week or two before. Although I pulled a lot of thistles, not one little pin stayed behind to aggravate my skin. I guess that makes them not only bulletproof but thistleproof.
I also learned what the underside of a flat-bed looks like when I crawled under it for a little shade when I started feeling woozy.
In addition to Bob, the owner/operator of the CSA, I met some wonderful people and learned about them and how and why they came to work the fields with me that day. Matt is there full-time over the summer, and wow, does he work hard! A university student, he wanted a break from studies to be outdoors and active. I remember wishing the same thing a number of years ago when I left a tech job, and I ended up with a food truck. Careful what you wish for! And I met Anna, a beautiful young woman, a wedding photographer and like me, a health and sustainability enthusiast.
Week by week, I’m watching the progress, the organization, the methods for operating a large organic spread. And week by week, I’m more and more impressed with what I see.
There was lots of growth between last week when I was there and this week. I’m so excited about watching as fields get plowed and plants go in.
This week, there was more to enjoy — pigs in an area where I was hosing down some crates. They were fenced in an area under trees, a mud pit, and wow, were they happy!! They were having such a great time, but as I walked over, they all quit what they were doing rolling around in the mud and came over to say “hi.” They clearly wanted some petting!
We’re just getting underway with food, so I wasn’t able to take a crate yesterday but am going back tomorrow to pick up my first one. I know there will be lettuce and bok choy but not sure what else yet.
Now comes another fun part, figuring out what to do with all of it. Lots of salads and stir fry, for sure, but I’m not sure what else yet. Forty years ago when I had my organic garden, I bought a book called, Too Many Tomatoes. I don’t remember that it had a chapter on bok choy, not yet in vogue, but nowadays I have Pinterest!
So Another Wonderful Day with My CSA. As I said to Bob, I hope I’m still doing this when I’m 85, and there’s only one way to get from here to there, and that’s to do it. And he said to me, “So we’re doing you a favor…” Yup. A very big favor, giving me a chance to connect with all that sustains us in such a meaningful way.
If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).
For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.