May 22, 2008

Just as exciting as radishes

My father would be ashamed that I haven't eaten meat nearly all week and that the majority of the things going into my mouth lately are green; I come from cow-country.

Today I spent the morning tiding things up in the office, getting the computers hooked up and the internet connected. I kept thinking how busy this place will be in the next few weeks – very exciting.

Some of the afternoon was spent planting pumpkin and corn seeds with the guys in the greenhouse, and the other half was spent looking up recipes for the CSA newsletter that will be going out with the first crop share box. I get to choose recipes that include vegetables that are in the box. We are anticipating salad greens, chives, turnips, radishes, asparagus, and spinach. The recipes I chose include: Crispy Turnip Fries; Turnip Salad; Lentil, Radish, and Spinach stuffed Pita; Asparagus and Chive Frittata; Spinach Salad with warm Bacon Dressing; and Citrus Vinaigrette for salads.

Then it was off to the greenhouse to plant some pumpkin and sweet corn seeds. This event was accompanied by a few Spanish lessons via Salvador. He’s quite patient with me, and graciously tells me my Spanish is good when we both know the opposite is quite true.

The farm was fun today, but the evening was what held the day’s gem. As I was walking back from the common house to my cabin, my neighbor Kevin followed up on our conversation the previous night about the nearby valley community playing volleyball on Thursday nights. So we hopped on our bikes and started the trek. He said it ‘wasn’t very far,’ but this was coming from a man who just finished a triathalon. The whole way there was up-hill, which made the downhill ride back in the stark-black of the night all the more exciting.

I didn’t quite know what to expect with this nearby Wiscoy village. I had heard a lot about it as it is the big brother to our village- what our village aspires to be. They’ve got a full-fledged volleyball court, stadium-esque lighting, a stage for a band, a full-on outdoor seating area, a swimming pond with a beach, and a beautiful garden. The pinkish-blue night sky was beautiful as we started hitting the volleyball around.

For the good first half hour I was the only female and the only one who didn’t grow up in the 60s. Soon enough a motorcycle rode up with two 20 year olds from Winona, which made me feel a little more in place. Although, age in this case was a bad indicator of abilty as the older guys really pulled some magic on us out on the court – especially Carl Lacher. After coming to the game late, he insisted that he play with his gloves on. His other mechanism he used was distraction- talking while you were trying to pay attention. His best attempt was when he was giving me statistics about mountain lions eating humans after I had expressed concern about them being in the area.

There were many other interesting people to meet that night: Ebrahim – the star server, Jim Riddle (an organic certification inspector who works for the U) who brought the cookies and music, and Bill – Kevin’s fellow triathaloner who also has a mean serve. The night rolled along with playing volleyball, having a beer, and chatting. I got to talking to Jim for a while- a most interesting guy. He mentioned that he worked with Jack for a while and that they farmed the land near where we were playing volleyball. Jim was very excited when I told him I was a journalism student interested in sustainable living/agriculture because he deals with those very same things for work. He explained to me (as Jack did the previous day) that a land has to be out of chemical for 36 months in order to be certified organic. We also talked about why farmers are transitioning to organic. He mentioned consumer demand, farmer interest, and federal dollars among other things. All around – a very interesting bunch of men that love to get together to drink a beer and play volleyball.

I must say I am more than excited to come back.

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