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Making Friends

From Guest Blogger Gina Sampaio, a Community Supported Agriculture Member.

I showed up at the farm last Saturday morning ready to get my three hours for the week in. Another newbie showed up at the same time and we decided to work together in the greenhouse transplanting seedlings. I had brought my iPod and headphones but since it turned out I’d be working with someone I decided I wouldn’t need them. At first she was a little quiet and I wondered if it’d be rude to go ahead and put my headphones on. I decided it would be rude and also reminded myself of one of my own reasons for joining the CSA would be to meet new people.

So I kept the headphones off and after awhile the conversation flowed. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that someone else dedicated to the CSA would also have many shared views with me. Corey told me about another local farm where she buys milk, cheese and pork. I taught her how to make yogurt at home. The three hours seemed to pass more quickly than when I spent it alone, listening to music.

A few days later, I met two more people. Sitting outside the greenhouse, the man said, “Hello, what’s your name?” When I replied, “Gina,” he said, “oh so you’re the one writing the blog!” (I had hung a notice on the bulletin board.) “I was checking them out earlier today,” he said. He then continued with a chuckle, “I was afraid you might be bad mouthing the produce or something!”

On the contrary, I have nothing but accolades for all of the food we’ve gotten from the farm. It’s all been devoured, even the broccoli raab (even though my children insist they don’t like “all this green stuff”). I shared some of the radishes with my neighbor who ate them straight out of the bag and says they are the best radishes she’s ever had.

It made me remember a conversation I had several years ago with a woman I used to work with. She insisted that, while nobody really believed her,  organic foods actually tasted better than non-organically grown food.  At the time, I wasn’t sure myself if I believed her. But as organic produce has become more available and affordable at supermarkets, I’ve added more into my diet and find I do agree with her on certain foods. Organic carrots, for example, definitely seem to have a sweeter, fresher taste than the non-organically grown ones.

All of the food from the farm tastes better to me than the food from the supermarket, even the organic produce. I’m sure the fact that this food was picked just a day or two before we eat it makes the difference. The organic produce from the supermarket might be the purest in the world but still had to be picked slightly early, boxed, transported, unloaded, etc. before even getting to the market shelves.

The other difference, of course, is the fact that we ourselves had a part in growing the food we’re eating. That extra ounce of pride makes the lettuce crunchier and the strawberries sweeter. Then again, I guess it depends on whom you ask. No lack of pesticide or pride in participation will ever get my son to admit that he likes spinach. Then again, it took me thirty-five years to own up to liking radishes.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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