Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hard work, yes. But it's OUR work.

Hello out there, friends of Village Farm!
Below is a portrait of our tractor by Lily Piel. Lily, a Portland based photographer, visited us a few weeks ago to photograph our operation for The Carrot Project, an awesome funder of grants and loans to farmers. Lily's pictures and portraits make my snapshots look like just that--snapshots. Amazing how the skilled photographer can pull out a whole lot of beauty from the very ordinary.

Have a look at her collection here. This one is also by Lily.
At the end of another growing season, we shift into a slower gear, reflect on the months past and start to make lists of what we would like to learn/change for next year.

So many people, friends, family, customers and even strangers (who see me carrying boxes into the Belfast Coop, for example) say, "What hard work!" To which I say something like:

Yes, but I love it, so it doesn't feel like hard work all the time.
Heavy, hot, wet, and undervalued--yes. But I get to be outside, with my family, with the plants and birdsongs and . . .
I would find lots of jobs much harder work than this!

Freely chosen, being a farmer is a good gig. We are a tiny operation, in the scheme of things, so our days are incredibly varied. I think often when I am harvesting a whole 200 foot bed of broccoli or 30# of salad greens:

I am doing this one job for 30 minutes or so. Some people, farm laborers employed by the BIG agribusinesses out there, do this for 8 hours straight. And then again tomorrow. . . Or maybe a machine does this job. . .

Some jobs ARE hard. It's pouring and cold and your fingers don't want to work. It's steamy and the blackflies are biting. There are cucumbers to harvest and cucumber plants make you itch. And on and on. We all have our strengths around here, and we all have the jobs we'd rather leave to others. But, for the most part, there aren't many jobs that we detest or are too hard on us. The work here is not too hard. We would say it is just about right.

We had a great bunch of friends and CSA members here on October 6th for the Work Party. We call it a party because it is meant to be FUN. We choose a good job for a crowd, get out there, chat it up and do a task. Then we eat. This fine autumn day found us harvesting dry beans as the picture below illustrates, cleaning onions that were finished curing in the greenhouse and harvesting something else which I have forgotten. . . carrots?

I am still giddy with joy that one CSA member took it upon himself to not only wash all of the farmhouse windows (inside and out!!! --AMAZING) but also to sharpen all of our kitchen knives. I am not kidding. Big thanks to all the helping hands of the day and growing season.

Many of you apologized for or lamented not being able to get to a work party. It really isn't primarily about the work accomplished. Most important is to have members with us for a morning. It is our intention that our member/supporters feel that they are welcome, their skills are welcome and we are grateful for their participation in our life and farming business. So we invite you to come and work and eat with us a few times each growing season. . .

More soon about fall vegetables available for the holidays ahead.

Take care,

Polly for all of us at Village Farm