One of the reasons why I like to sell our food through the Community Supported Agriculture and farmers’ market venues, is that I think it is important for folks, all of us, to have a connection to the food we eat. That connection comes from paying attention to what we put into our mouths – where, when, how, and the origin of that food.
Here at Dandelion Spring and Straw Farm we are busy planting seeds in the soil and in trays in the greenhouse. When the greenhouse gets full, or the plants big enough, we move them out into the soil. We cover these plants, this young food, with metal hoops and row cover made out of essentially polyester and plastics to protect it from the cold nights, and insects that soon will wake-up. This is a very simplified version of what we do.
In the meantime, we are running back and forth from barn to greenhouse to garden. We are laughing. Telling stories. Day dreaming about dinner. Or what our ideal snack would be – right. now. And sometimes those dreams are delivered to us.
I’ve been spending what feels like a ridiculous amount of time on my phone, as I negotiate irrigation purchases, soil amendments, excavators for road work, and general contractor services for a new barn. This is Winter work that has over-flowed into Spring.
We feel the delicate textures of young lettuce leaves as they are transplanted, and the waxy leaves of broccoli seedlings. We take the soil temperature.
We kneel on the ground and peer closely in the soil, as we gently disturb a pocket and look for root hairs of freshly germinating weeds. And we also put a propane tank in a backpack, and walk up and down garden rows with a four burner hooded flame of fire, hoping to eradicate those weeds, ideally, a day before our lettuce mix germinates.
What is important here?
When I think about the take home message of the every day doings of the farm, it isn’t the details of our new building going up, or the solid road that will now take us from animal barn to the compost pad. It is the careful handling of life that we will eat.
We are working hard, as a fine community of humans, to build an environment that is charged to raise food. There are seemingly a million details and human made tools involved in the process. We can push the process as much as we’d like. We can make the farm solid, and pretty, and super sized or really, really small. We can throw down our seeds with an artful flourish, or run the seeder in straight lines. Ultimately, we are creating an environment to raise healthy food. We are planting that seed, and ushering it to a plant that will become a harvestable size, or giver of fruit. That is what we are doing every day.
And this week, as the soil finally jumps above 50 degrees, and most of our fields are dry enough to put tractors on, and we know we need to create more space for more plants, we are going at it. Full force. The news of the farm is simply that.
See you at market soon,