Fall Farming

The first few weeks working at Jubilee was all sunshine, strawberries so ripe they were falling from the plant, and furry little animals. Every animal on the farm was little, furry and cute during June and July. Chickens, pigs, even the cows. Don’t ask me how. They just were.
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Don’t get me wrong- the work was hard. I would get my workout in each day from carrying around baskets of harvested loot (I figured out why they called it “farmers carry” in CrossFit), shoveling up stubborn roots, and yanking 6 foot weeds out from earth. But it’s hard to complain when you leave the farm with an awesome farmer’s tan, four grocery bags overflowing with organic loot, (most of which was snack-able on the drive home) and an overwhelming sense of hard work equals positive contributions and personal benefit in the kitchen .But let’s get back to the loot. Sweet peas that pop in your mouth. Juicy raspberries that I always turned into tarts as soon as I got home. Huge leaves of fresh spring mix. Zucchini the size of your leg. And pints and pints of tomatoes. They were practically giving those away.
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One week near the end of the summer we filled the back of a truck with watermelon and cantaloupe. “Pretty soon these will be pumpkins,” someone thought out loud. We had an amazing summer in Seattle and it was hard to believe that soon the 80 degree days would turn to crisp autumn. But one Monday night mid-September I woke up to the sound of pouring rain on the roof and thunder grumbling. That 6am felt a lot earlier than I was used to. I grabbed a raincoat on my way out the door to the farm, but was rudely reminded of the impressive weather changes between Seattle and Carnation, and spent the day thinking about how great it is that I have an unlimited amount of warmth and cover back at home. Most of that day was spent picking through bad celery and coming up short of our quota, then rolling up insanely heavy and moldy tarps that had been used for the melons. My back hurt. I couldn’t get the stink of moldy melons off me. I was saturated down to the bone. Welcome to fall.

Fast forward a week. It’s 7am and I’m rolling up to the farm, this time feeling prepared with my big hiking boots, 3 long sleeve layers, down coat, fleecy hat, and rain coat. Am I gonna let a little rain get me down? Please. I got this! Singing along to Coldplay, I pull up to what looks like a loooooong puddle. I pause the car and immediately experience Subaru Syndrome. “Standing water? No problem. I have a Subaru!” I pick up my phone and turn on the video because I knew it would be epic- I reverse a little to get some speed and plunge into the puddle. I mean lake. Water rushes up the side of the car and over the hood. My E brake confidently tells me that I made a big mistake and tries not to let me continue. Swear words happen and I put down my phone. I decide that I’d rather get to the other side of the lake than not, so I continue to hit the gas until my angry and confused car trudges me through to the other end. Then it dies, and I sit and wait, thinking about that ‘Office’ episode in which Michael’s GPS tells him to drive into the lake, so he does. And now I’m horrified that I compared myself to Michael Scott.  Fifteen minutes later the engine forgives me and revives.

And my version…


Once I finally get to the farm, the rest of the day was spent in the sideways rain hand picking individual carrots from the earth because it was so muddy that the shovel got stuck a few inches in. I learned that day to that you can never be too prepared for cold weather, that the amount of people who show up to work on a farm greatly affects the size of the CSA share you get at the end of the day, and to never, ever under estimate innocent looking puddles. I also had to pay my respects and say goodbye to the pigs that were having the time of their lives rolling around in the mud. Apparently it was one of their last days on the farm. Those cute furry things will soon become someone’s breakfast.

Sigh. I sauntered off the farm with my individual bag of muddy carrots, swiss chard, beets, and one massive winter squash, feeling a little defeated. So it’s not always summertime on a farm. How disappointing! But with each step I took, another layer of mud peeled off my boots and I remembered all the other reasons why I’m spending my Tuesdays at Jubilee. It’s pretty cool to be a part of one of the only completely biodynamic farms in the northwest. It’s also pretty special to constantly have a fully stocked fridge with the best quality bounty possible. To come home from work, skip going to the store, and make a huge pot of stew with all the veggies that you helped create. So I think I’ll be able to see the season out. With a healthy respect of dramatic weather changes.    download (4) download download (1)

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