August 12, 2007

Today was quite possibly the most productive Sunday seen in a long time, from a farming standpoint. I’ve noticed that as the summer has worn on, I get more and more tired. By the time the Farmer’s Market is over on Saturday afternoon, I feel done in, and that sensation manages to linger through the rest of the weekend. All the tasks that should be getting done are ignored in falling cascades of self-justification while I nap the afternoon away. Well, this is just not good, and I know

 it. So I tried something new. I hired a good friend and coworker from UC Davis to come up for the whole day Sunday. The plan was to do “greenhouse work” all day, to help stave off the approaching emergency of “those winter crops.” Believe it or not, this right now is the time when things like Brussels sprouts and cabbages need to be planted. I guess this must be true, because last year we didn’t get these items seeded in until practically November, and it was a DISASTER for many of those crops. The Brussels sprouts didn’t and the cabbages are to this day lingering sadly in the garden, trying to make something of themselves but failing utterly. So out of our day came flats of lettuce, collards, leeks, onions, shallots, mache, beets, fennel, assorted cool-season flowers, and other stuff I can’t remember now. I recall that still to go are spinaches, napa cabbages, regular cabbages, and some other odd greens. Last year I grew a lot of endive, and it was a little too successful, so I’m not sure how much of that to put in this time around.  In the weeks to come my farming partner is going to have the row crop garden attacked by workers, and the fallow rows will be weeded, burned, and covered over in fresh compost. It is about time to seed in the fava beans, radishes, carrots, and peas; in a perfect world that will all occur before the second week of September is over.  So, after hours of greenhouse work, the day ended outside cutting and peeling bins of apples for applesauce done on an outdoor cooker. Since this job could be done with fresh made peach ice cream eaten on the side while sipping salty dogs from fresh-squeezed grapefruit, it was concluded that the day was a great success.


I have to throw in a word about the fickle Farmer’s Market as well. This Saturday, we went with the usual amount of items. I have struggled to break $100 the past few weeks, which is a very frustrating feeling. It’s no fun to spend all the time and effort to bring beautiful items to the market and just have people walk past and purchase nothing. So mentally, I felt prepared for another week of the same. We brought our items in boxes like usual, but on an impulse, I began dumping the produce into little piles, right on the tabletop. Okra, eggplant, figs, all in a happy jumble of little mounds. It was queit for a little while, and then suddenly they came. The shopping masses started buying, and buying some more. Tomatoes and beans and  flowers, oh my! At one point, a lady who had been to France and recognized my squashes was almost in tears to have found someone who grows Potimarron in this country. When I produced a French soup recipe from my backpack she took her squashes (she bought all of them) and walked off in a fit of ecstasy. It made my whole day to have someone finally appreciate those incredible squashes, and I hope she enjoys her soup. I earned almost $300, which is unheard of. From now on, I will never display produce in a box again. I don’t know if the display made the difference, but I’m hoping it did…….

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