Observations on a first harvest

11:43pm

Why did I agree to write the blog for this week? I knew this would be a busy week and that I would be scrambling to find time to write down something clever, witty and informative about organic farming. But sure enough, each day seems to get away from me with the long list of things that need to get done.


I slept in this morning, hitting snooze with the hope that I would be able to steal enough extra sleep in order to recuperate from the weekend. When I finally did pull myself out of bed, I hurried to get ready, grabbing left over rice from the refrigerator and knowing there were pretzels in my car for lunch. I had all of my things for the day together, got into the car with hat and water bottle in hand, sunscreen heavily applied, and started my morning drive.

Taking 62 to 35W, I thought to myself, "You sure do use a lot of gas in order to go work on an organic farm. You live in a great house with great people and work on a great farm with great people, which are not located conveniently near one another. While this 1997 mini van may not be the most economically and ecologically practically, it gets the job done. Not only does it have the loading capacity to take tools, people and plants from field to field on the farm, it is a means to take me from a good communal living space to a good communal working space . . . Crap, there's my exit. Sorry for cutting you off, Dodge Caliber."

Getting to the farm at 8:40 am, I made a mental note to think about the work I was doing, with the intention that thinking about my work in different ways would somehow generate a great idea for writing a blog post. Right away I was at work harvesting and processing radishes, diligently pulling them from the ground and washing dirt off of the bright red and purple bulbs, while chatting with other interns about their weekends. Harvesting and processing took most of the day, but was rewarding in both the return of produce and the opportunity for lucky interns to take home the excess radishes and mizuna. Mizuna, I learned today on the farm, is a green that is in the same family as broccoli, brassicas, and has a mild, mustard flavor. I felt a little silly putting the large bag of leafy greens into my backpack, not really knowing what I was going to do with them, but I have a barbecue tomorrow and I will find a way to make use of them.

After harvesting and processing, we took a break for lunch and my body finally acknowledged its need for rest. I did not get enough sleep this weekend and working outside in the sun only made my head think slower. Lunch did not take long, however, and soon enough I was back outside working on laying out paper mulch for strawberry plants, which will hopefully be an effective method of weed control, smothering the surrounding soil and blocking out the sunlight. Kneeling in the dirt, cutting x's into the paper and folding it back to make room for the strawberry plants to grow, I lost track of time and realized I had to go if I wanted to avoid heavy afternoon traffic.

Once I sat in the relaxing heat of my car, my body and head began to shut down and I was keenly aware of my need for sleep. I decided to forgo listening to talk radio, and opted instead for talking to myself in order to stay alert. "This is what you need to do when you get home . . ." and the list went on for the duration of my commute. Upon returning to my house, things only got half done, not having enough time and being distracted by my housemates. Today was not the day to try and write a blog for the farm. Tomorrow might be a better choice.

Brigette Napier, St. Paul Market Manager

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