My favorite meal of the day here is definitely lunch. After working for about five hours in the morning, by mid-day I have worked up an appetite and am ready to sit down for a while. More importantly, the smells emanating from the outdoor kitchen get my salivary glands going. We start work about 8 in the morning. And while I enjoy my oatmeal with homemade pear sauce on top and a cup of coffee, I sit with my fleece and winter hat snug on my head. It’s a little too chilly, and there’s the anticipation of the day’s work that’s more on the forefront.
The first work of the day since I’ve been here is harvesting the greens: kale, collards, chard, and cabbages. This family of greens harvest best and stay freshest when picked in the cool of the morning. And it has been quite cool. The first frost even hit the other day. The sun takes a while to rise over the mountains and illuminate the valley here, so it’s slow to warm up. This morning harvesting kale, the dew clung to the leaves. My hands operated a bit slower under the wetness, reminding me of being little and taking a mitten off while playing in the snow and the slight sting that results. Soon enough the sun brushed the top of the mountain and the rays encapsulated into each dewdrop, making the sheen on the field sparkle.
Moving from the fields to the processing area, we weighed the greens, washed them, set them to dry, and packed them in the bins for the market. Then carrots and beets called, so we headed out to pull them up. Unfortunately, the stalks of the carrots weren’t allowing us to tug them up—the green tops snapped off instead, so we loosened the row to pluck them and then bunched them up. Next came washing the carrots, then harvesting leeks and tomatoes. I think that was the work of the morning—I could be missing an activity or two, but basically it’s busy but goes fast since we move from one thing to another.
But in the midst of this—about the time I headed off to help harvest tomatoes, lunch preparations began. We alternate cooking lunch here on the farm. Right now it’s me and Rachel, the other WWOOFer, and Grady and Linda who own the farm. Today Rachel created a vegetable feast. She must have been inspired by our morning’s work since we stuffed ourselves on sautéed kale, steamed beets and carrots, and roasted buttercup squash. She called us over, carrying the warm squash from the oven. I washed as much dirt from my hands and I could and sat down. I savored the warm spread in front of me, and the efforts of the morning made complete sense.