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Town Farm Imagines What It's All Going to Look Like

Posted 5/14/2012 8:38pm by OONA COY & BEN JAMES.

Hello Farm Towners,

(Skip to the bottom if you just want to know what we'll have at market this week.)

One of the major perks of being a farm kid is that – even though your parentsfirst strawberry discuss the difference between seedcorn maggots and cabbage worm maggots at the breakfast table, and even though one hen or another is always trying to peck your ham sandwich, and even though you can't walk six inches in any direction without someone shouting, Don't step on the lettuce, or Watch out for the asparagus – despite all these major inconveniences, there is this one serious perk – you always get to eat the very first strawberries of the year. I came in from the field today, the boys freshly home from school, and held out my open hand. Wiley saw them first. Strawberries, he shouted, such surprise and delight in his voice it was almost as if he'd invented the berries himself, or as if he were giving them their name for the first time.

Silas was pleased too, but his sense of satisfaction is different from Wiley's. The fruits of the farm are no longer a constant surprise to him. He doesn't participate too often in the work of growing the food, but he's more and more aware of all the effort that's involved – not just the human effort, but the complex processes of soil & sunlight & growth, the time and the mysterious work of ripening.

This past weekend the boys crossed the road with me to go and check on the cucumbers in the high tunnel. Along the way, we observed the two-inch-tall peas on their newly installed trellis. We saw the half-ripe strawberries (I had to work hard to talk the boys out of picking them). We munched a few young carrots, pinky-thick, with a sweet, delicate crunch. As we walked alongside the newly harrowed section of the field, Silas waved his arm in an arc and said, "Imagine what this is all going to look like."

"When?" I said.

"After it's all planted."

So I stood there a sec and I tried to imagine it: the rows of cherry tomatoes as tall as my head, the bright green frilliness of the carrot beds, the late-season kale, dark against the frosted ground. It's sort of what Oona and I do all the time. We plan where we're going to put the cops and we figure out how we're going to take care of them. But this was different. Silas wasn't asking me to plan, to figure, to problem-solve, to prioritize. I took him at his word. He was inviting me to imagine it, and I did so, and for a quick moment (about as long as it takes to eat a strawberry), I was actually satisfied.

"This is Paradise," Silas said, and although it's not a word that's ever had much currency for me, I felt pleased that we had taken good enough care of this 3-acre field beside the highway (a field that for decades had either been neglected or overused) for it to be my kid's idea of the real thing.



But now you've read all this way and you think I'm going to reward you with a tender morsel of information, like the fact that we'll be loaded with strawberries this week at Tuesday Market. Sorry. No luck. That'll be next week and the week after that. Here's what we'll have this week:

Asparagus! (come early)



Salad Mix

Lettuce Mix





Salad Turnips

Garlic Scallions

And maybe Head Lettuce, but the only one who knows that is Oona, and she's already pushed the two-year-old aside and climbed into bed beside him.

Hey, our Salad Mix is quite a project. Every week it's a big improvisation of harvesting all the separate greens, washing and spinning them, assessing their quality and their quantities, and mixing them together in (hopefully) pleasing proportions. So to all you loyal customers who've been eating our mix all winter and spring, let us know what you think. How do you prefer it? A wee-bit spicy? More mizuna or less? Only when the greens are tiny and utterly tender, or even once they've built some character? It's different every time, but we still like to hear what you like!

Hey, shareholders, in case you've been wondering: Pick-up starts the first week in June. We won't fail to remind you as the time gets close. For now, come by and say hi at market. Thanks!

O.K. –Later.


Mia & Adam prune tomatoes in the high tunnel


This little radish will be going to market