A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Will Work For Food

At market last week, I mentioned to my farmer that I wished I could afford more of his produce during this canning season.  Enough said--a deal was made:  I would work at Fairview Family Farm in exchange for produce.  Whew!!--what an experience for me this has been!  To explain the huge change in this "City Girl's" usual daily lifestyle, I offer the following differences:

Instead of waking to match an outfit, don make-up and meticulously style my hair, I throw on the most comfortable (rag-tag) clothes I can find, wash up and run a comb through my hair.

The daily weather prediction is no longer provided to me via the internet; It's listening to farmers predict weather by nature's signs--fog rising from the valley foretells rain.

Instead of running errands in an air-conditioned SUV along a smooth highway; I bounce through field roads, in trucks and on tractors,with wind on my face and a dog running alongside.

Instead of the family dispersing to different jobs in the morning, the farm family gathers to work together in multi-generations; father in the tractor seat with sons on the potato picker, grandson riding to the raspberry patch in grandma's lap on the fourwheeler.

Instead of going room-to-room cleaning, cooking, canning, blogging..., I go from field-to-field: picking, pulling, digging and weeding; or from barn to shed: sorting, washing, trimming and packing.

I won't be high on a ladder dusting fan blades, I'll be hoisted high in a tractor bucket to pick apples.

I'm not hunkered down inside while listening to rain run off the roof; I am out picking corn while listening to rain patter among the cornstalks (and drip off the end of my nose).

Instead of a simple and quiet lunch alone at my kitchen table; I sit with a crew gathered as family around a table heaped with plates of savory roast, steaming vegetables and crisp salads--all fresh picked that morning.  First, Father Mark Timm says grace; then we eat.

I no longer glance out the window late afternoon to see 5 pm traffic streaming by; I gaze out of the barn to see dragonflies flit and dance across the farm yard.

When I pause and look up from my work, I am not looking at familiar walls inside my home; rather I am awed by an endless horizen of bluffs and valleys, forest and meadow, hillside and cornfields--all under strata of cloud formations and sky color.

A clean house, canned produce, a posted blog and supper on the table are no longer my pride after a day's work.  Muddy shoes, dirt under my fingernails, a sunburned face and tired muscles are my new badges of honor.

The local radio station no longer provides my background music.  Now it's a collection of rock-and-roll era songs blaring from Ben Timm's Ipod--seemingly out in the middle of nowhere.  (Bet you thought I was going to say it's listening to birdsong and chirping crickets--teehee.)

My working peers are not the usual "coffee-klatch" I'm accustomed to; they're a dedicated crew of kind and considerate young farmers, far beyond their years in maturity and ambition.  I am the student here. 

"The boss" is not some far-removed CEO at a mahogany desk in corporate headquarters; It's an unassuming and gentle-natured farm wife and mother with much wit and humor.  She organizes and manages the whole operation behind the scene, yet works aside the rest of the crew in the fields.

Did I mention "hard-working folk"!!!  Whoo-boy; they are still out in the fields long after I've crawled into our car, bedraggled and spent, for the ride home.

The roles in our household have reversed:  My feet are up while hubby cooks supper.

My sleep is (much!) more sound. 

Truly, the activities of my new job challenge my strength and stamina; yet I have a constant companion:  contentment!

I often round a corner to come upon scenes like this
 -- simple beauty!


  1. Nice post. Well written contrasting statements.

    "....5 pm traffic streaming by..."
    Now that's funny. Hahahaha.

    Michelle C.

  2. Loved this. Glad you are enjoying and learning. And we are glad you are with us for a few weeks till the season winds down.