Rise With The Son

My son is an early riser. He has been since the day he was born, nearly nine years ago. And every day since then I have cringed that he’s an early riser. That is, until today.

You see, today we started harvesting from our little farm in the city, the little urban farm, the front yard garden, the straw bale garden. But today we did it a little too late. We got out there late in the morning, after the rain stopped, and harvested salad greens and kohlrabi. Then we started “processing” our greens; harvest, cool, triple wash, dry, weigh, bag and cool. Along the way we did a little sampling. We were disappointed to find some of our greens were bitter. This can happen for a few reasons: the greens got too big, they are not heat tolerant varieties (ours are) or they were harvested too late in the day. So we sorted through our greens, figured out which ones were still sweet and which went bitter. Although we got a nice harvest, we composted an unfortunate amount of bitter greens and decided that tomorrow we’re starting earlier, before the sap in the lettuce goes bitter from the heat.

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I can’t tell you how many days since starting this adventure in January, that I’ve gained so much respect for the farmers who grow and supply us with food every day. They rise with the sun, go to bed with the sun and work every hour in between. We’re trying to plan a little road trip this summer and it’s stressing me out. I can’t stop thinking that I might be gone when my harvest will be at it’s peak. And if spring had been “normal” I would be closer to my original harvest schedule, but it wasn’t normal and having put all of this time and energy into the garden this year, I want to minimize as much loss as possible. And… assuming I’ll be able to sell some of the produce, it would be a shame to miss that opportunity as well. This experience has made me realize just how connected to the land farmers really are. They are caring for our food from the day the seed hits the soil until the day the crop comes out of the ground. They know when it is too early to harvest, too late and when it is just right. It has also reminded me why school starts when it does in the fall and ends when it does in the spring. It has made me realize that when you are growing a garden for your family it doesn’t matter so much when your crops hit peak harvest, but if you are growing for others, or for your livelihood, it does. This experience has made me wonder if I will still want to do this again next year when I get to the end of this season (I’m pretty sure I will). And it’s made me realize that food really isn’t all that expensive when you realize the time in planning, planting, tending, watering, harvesting and proper handling that goes into it. Are those fresh greens or those tomatoes worth the money they are asking for them? Um, yes. And probably more!

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It’s funny, when you begin to walk a day in someone else’s shoes, you begin to gain perspective into their life and have a different appreciation for who they are and what they do. Somehow, we become a little more connected, even if it’s just a better understanding of each other.

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Before I go to bed tonight I will say a little prayer, thanking all of the farmers for the food they have grown that has nourished me for so many years when I was too busy worrying about other things to stop and genuinely thank them for what they do.

And then, tomorrow, I will rise with my son and we will begin to harvest again.

Kate

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One Comment to “Rise With The Son”

  1. Amen to this! Thanks for sharing these important points about how challenging it is to grow great food! Good luck with finding some time away–that is also a challenge in the growing season!!!

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