This week we got the eggplants,okra, and melons in the ground, and that feels like a milestone for me. All of our spring and summer crops are finally planted. What a relief to see all the plans enacted, the transplants settled into their new homes, and our field finally full. It’s true that we will begin sowing transplants for the fall and winter harvest soon (and I have left patches of our field fallow for these), but I think that taking a moment to appreciate what we have done is important and restorative.
A visitor to our farm was amazed that I was growing close to two acres of veggies mostly by hand. I am not so amazed as tired right now. It has been overwhelming at times, and one has to learn to forgive oneself for the missed planting dates and weedy garlic. But I find that the more pressure I feel, the slower I should go. Slower sometimes physically–getting injured isn’t going to help move projects forward, but slower in the sense of taking time to take stock. Otherwise this becomes a job and not a livelihood.
This week while I was hilling the potatoes, I stopped. I was absorbed in the process of moving dirt, but for some reason I awoke from this and looked up. The sky above was blue and the sunset was just beginning to color the fields in the far distance. Somewhere someone was listening to the radio, and Cat Stevens was singing. It was warm the way a summer evening should feel to a person in a t-shirt. Silly as it seems I laid down between the hills for a few seconds. I couldn’t see over the mounds of dirt on each side of me, only the undersides of the potato leaves and the sky were in sight. I noticed that the potatoes to my right were beginning to flower, but the ones on my left had not. Up above, the clouds looked like quilt batting. I felt the soreness of my arms and back from the hilling work and the coolness of the newly exposed earth against my arms. Everything in that moment was right, was OK.
Then I stood up slowly and went back to moving earth. But I felt lucky to be doing this work.
At market this week, we will have head lettuce, kohlrabi, beets, radishes, sorrel, cress, chard, sylvetica arugula, mustard greens, collards, broccoli, sugar snap and snow peas, shelling favas, basil, cilantro, parsley, garlic scapes, maceratese, and our braising and salad mixes. If you haven’t tried kohlrabi before, it is a odd-looking cabbage relative that has a swollen stem that one peels and eats raw. It’s sweet and crunchy and great on salads. The maceratese is an Italian turnip green with great flavor. Sauté a minute or two, and it is ready to eat. And our shelling favas are not to be missed. We shell the little beans without pealing them and then roast them until they are carmelized and crunchy. Another great addition to salads. (We eat a lot of salads these days.)
Take care and eat well.