1. Get a double espresso. And have yet another person wistfully tell me that working on a farm must be like getting to have recess 24/7.
2. Explain to said person that it’s a good job, but that all farms I’ve ever known are just so disorganized.
3. Have said person say “No it’s not, it’s a farm. Everything’s all planted in nice rows and beds all one by one.”
4. Pay and walk away.
5. Listen to the heat advisory on the radio. Again. Please keep all pets and children indoors.
6. Show up at work around 7.
7. Scribble out a handful of picking lists.
8. Translate them into Spanish.
[from step 8 to step 862 I have no idea of the order of anything else that happened today. I vaguely remember getting a couple new restaurant orders in the morning… sending the harvesting crew (I mean harvesting-three since SIX of the guys called out today - on FRIDAY. SERIOUSLY?! Three instead of nine?!) so I sent the harvesting-three out to the tuscan kale 6 times in a row ‘til it couldn’t kale no mo’.
Talked to Manuel about back pain - dolor while picking baby scallions. (Not my favorite new Spanish word, that one, dolor).
Priced restaurant sale invoices.
Hopped, skipped, jumped and hollered a little bit when the red farm truck actually started!
Picked squash blossoms and startled all the bumble bees punch-stumbling-drunk on pollen. Didn’t get stung… Squash blossoms are more delicate than zucchini blossoms. They billow and spin open, thin and orange like daffodils almost. Zucchini blossoms are sturdy and straight and tall, like a pencil skirt versus a swing skirt.
Told Drew to go pick scallions while I went to pick tomatoes and okra. Teenage Drew reminded me that I’m not supposed to lift heavy pieces of vegetable. I got frustrated. What do we DO?!?! Oh - you pick tomatoes, I’ll pick scallions.
So I picked okra.
THE WHOLE FIELD. And got less than a half of a half bushel.
Way. to go. Manuel. Dude must’ve picked the you-know-what (…okra) out of that okra field til there wasn’t even an itch left in the leaves. The only pieces left were on the tippy top of the seven-foot-high plants meaning I definitely got my stretching in for the day. An old lady at the church I grew up in once told me that for a year she stretched as high as as she could in the air and as low as she could to the ground every morning and every evening. And at the end of the year she had grown an inch and a half! At 85 years old! Last year I tended to be the okra-picker of choice all season and I’m not sure the stretching high and low really changed my height at all… not that I want to be taller. Although it would be nice for my foot to actually be able to hit the pedal of the box truck. The way it is now the entire truck bounces down the road every time we hit a bump on the way to farmers market at 4 AM because my short legs can’t reach far enough to push the pedal down the whole way.
Then Sam said to pick all the watermelons.
ALL of them.
196 seedless. 10 seeded. 40ish heirloom moon and stars. 39 of which are not ripe. 40 of which I knew should not be picked when a certain impatient person on the farm decided it was time to till ‘er in!
The whole watermelon field?! I said.
YES! He said.
But the heirlooms! I said. They aren’t ready yet! They need time! They’re the snails of all watermelon. We’ve been waiting since May!
The weeds. He said.
Tractor’s comin’. He said.
I know. I said.
And sadly picked them all.
And sadly cut all the heirlooms open. Drew wanted to slice them all into pieces with a Samurai sword like real-life Fruit Ninja. But let’s be honest - even if we had a Samurai sword at the farm it would probably be lost somewhere in the arugula where all other harvesting knives mysteriously go to die and… this is getting off topic. Back to the heirlooms.
I video-taped and photographed their marvelous beautiful inky sky moon and star skin.
As we cut into their-unmarvelous-unready-white and pink meat.
Don’t fall in love with the vegetables. Miss April said.
Too late, said my broken farmer heart.
I’m not ready to talk about it yet.
(Neither is Ben.)
Neither is Buck.
He can’t even look at them.
So instead we discussed scallion bunch sizes.
I sent Drew out to pick scallions.
Drew went out to the watermelon field and rescued the one ginormous heirloom watermelon we’ve been eyeing for weeks and were too sad to pick - followed the vine - dug up the whole plant - and re-planted it in front of the hang out in Ms. April’s garden bed. God bless that kid.
Forgot we had extra baby tat soi- vitamin greens in the field.
Sent Drew out to the tat soi.
Called the chef who I sadly told yesterday that we were out of tat soi.
Sold some tat soi!
Bagged some tat soi.
Got the order for the Stono Market CSA pick up tomorrow. Filled it. Goodbye extra-tat soi! Happy eating CSA families! :)
Got a call from Frasier that we forgot to pack the cucumbers for Snob (Slightly North of Broad). Oops. Seriously unintended. I would never want to put a pause on that stellar gazpacho.
Snob is the very first restaurant I ever remember eating at in Charleston. I was 14. My mom and my aunts had one too many espresso martinis and it was a little too entertaining to forget. We probably went roaming the streets looking for pralines after midnight like the time I went roaming the alleys of Paris with my mother looking for creme brulee at 2 in the morning. And I wonder who I got my sweet tooth from…
Picked some eggplant.
Packed some restaurant things.
Ate some almond butter.
Spilled the almond butter.
Almond butter is impossible to stir.
Realized the importance of having water nearby while eating almond butter plain.
Why would anyone eat almond butter plain.
Took bets on how many watermelon we picked.
Counted the watermelon.
Sold a watermelon in the middle of counting.
Did we count that one?
Ms. April won. 4 watermelons off.
Drank more water.
Checked on the blackberries.
Toyed with the idea of picking them.
Not worth it what with a. the rest of the picking. b. the heat. c. the “harvesting-three.”
Made jokes with Ms. April.
Took the icepacks out of my car from the delivery I made last night.
Helped a random customer buy peaches.
We don’t grow peaches.
Checked the picking list for the 28th time.
Got a restaurant order.
Figured it out.
Talked to Pete about a wonderful photography idea but was too hot and tired and overwhelmed to work through it in my head.
Got an unexpectedly relevant and joyful phone call from my friend Jocelyn.
Who listened to me ramble about life the whole way home.
Where I took a shower.
And ate some dinner.
Considered washing the dishes.
And wished I had remembered to bring home even a single random vegetable.
Other things happened that I don’t even remember. and here I am. And here you might, but probably not, might still be reading.
As soon as I finish this glass of wine…
And answer this late night call from a great chef downtown who may or may not have discovered a nest of spiders in his curly kale including one unkind arachnid who bit the great chef’s dishwasher. Pretty sure it wasn’t a recluse or a black widow but hey! Cross your fingers and say a prayer for the guy. No wonder I didn’t wash the dishes tonight! I knew that could get dangerous.
T-minus 6 hours and it’s farmers market go-time.