Some things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving:
"Really, thank you guys for everything," she said with more sincerity than I ever expected to hear from a 17 year old. Friday was Teala's last day working on the farm for the season, so we celebrated with pizza from the shop over the mountain topped with spinach fresh from the field. To have an employee thank you for giving her arduous tasks like picking tomatoes for 4 hours in sweltering heat and humidity and stooping to plant thousands of broccoli transplants...well it just doesn't get any better than that! I think I spent most of the season rushing around frantically oftentimes cursing with frustration about the latest pest outbreak, equipment failure, or lost pair of pruners. Nevertheless, my love for what we do seems to have been contagious. At first she struggled with the realization that the seemingly awful--the dirt, the sweat, the chaos--can be rewarding and even fun. But now Teala has fully embraced that she too has a thing for "hippy farming."
Back in mid-July we were completely overwhelmed with work. A weekly yield of 700 lbs of tomatoes was monopolizing our time, its was 90 degrees constantly, and we had to harvest our big onion crop before the next rain. I assumed I would just pull onions all day and the tomatoes would have to go to waste. But then Cameron's mom showed up with the whole family--Cameron's brother, sister, and her four children (even 4 year-old Lily) made quick work of pulling, boxing, and delivering the onions to the safety of our barn. Then they stayed to pick the cherry tomatoes too!
Throughout the growing season, my mom would Fed-ex us care packages of support: unusual seeds for the garden in April, 25 cubic feet of snack food in July to ensure calorie consumption kept up with calories burned, artisan cheese to enjoy with our tomatoes, and 7 pounds of coffee to keep us caffeinated during those early morning drives to market.
Nothing beats the instant gratification of our work. Twice a week, no matter what disaster struck at the farm, we set out the fruits of our labors at market and are revitalized by the response from our fans. Reliably, rain or shine, loyal customers arrive to stock up on staples or see what's new, to marvel at the beauty of a watermelon radish or heirloom tomato, to share a new favorite recipe, or to ask a question about the garden. In the words of writer and farmer Cory Mosser, "Its our chance after a week of talking to plants to be the center of a conversation...Watching tomatoes I've battled into existence over months fly off the shelf. The emotional battery charge of smiling familiar faces. The kids that want to eat raw okra right from the booth." Thank you all for helping to make 2012 our most successful growing season yet!
Whatever you're grateful for this Thanksgiving, we hope you can take plenty of time to celebrate with family, friends, and lots of delicious vegetables