Every week when I go to the farm, I learn something new. Sometimes it’s something essential, like where the bathroom is (phew!) or how to turn the lights on so that I can see inside the walk-in cooler where each week’s vegetables are stored until pick-up. Other times it’s more practical information on how the farm operates on a daily basis. I’ve spread my wings now and moved on from constant weeding (though I don’t mind weeding) and spent some time transplanting seedlings in one of the greenhouses.
I also spent some time figuring out how to water the great long rows of broccoli plants. Sure, watering plants should be a no-brainer, but it wasn’t that easy! First the hose needed to be turned on inside one of the greenhouses. Then I had to follow the hose to where it was hooked up to a huge barrel of fertilizer. (I wondered what might be in there that was acceptable for use on a NOFA* certified organic farm. As my daughter, her friend Maggie and I got closer to the barrel, Maggie exclaimed, “it smells like my Uncle’s lake house!” Having never been to her Uncle’s lake house, I had to wholeheartedly agreed anyway. The fertilizer was clearly fish-based. “Just like the Native Americans taught the Pilgrims!” my daughter proudly announced.)
Now the pump on the fertilizer needed to be turned on. This was probably my most terrifying farm moment to date. The switch was on top of the barrel, hooked to a car battery. Wires were exposed, fertilizer was dripping, I was pretty sure I was about to be electrocuted. I closed my eyes and flicked the switch…and survived! Bella and Maggie left me again so I was alone watering broccoli and I realized…I really liked it.
It’s not that I’m in love with standing in the hot sun and repeating the same motion over and over again. What I do like is being a part of helping nurture tiny seeds into food. I like being a part of a tradition as old as humankind (but with more modern conveniences, like car batteries on fertilizer pumps). I like seeing lowly mud–my usual nemesis that needs to be wiped off of my children’s faces and laundered off of their soiled clothes–being elevated to a position of honor. Mud grows food! Long live mud!
Lastly, I realized what I really like best about working on the farm is that I get some time for introspection. Most of my life revolves around caring for four little people and our home. I rarely get time to just BE. It’s true I manage to squeeze in 2-3 workouts at the gym per week but that time is mainly spent thinking about how much longer my workout is going to last…and occasionally what I’m going to make for dinner. The only other time I really get to be alone and quiet like this is when I go to the spa. Once every two years or so, my husband treats me to a fancy spa session. I get to hand over obscene amounts of money in order to lay in quiet introspection while a lady covers my body with thick, rich…mud. Long live mud!
*Northeast Organic Farming Association
Written by guest blogger Gina Sampaio, a new Community Supported Agriculture share holder.