Monday, May 17, 2010

Zoe's Garden

Saturday was member day at the CSA we joined. I was excited to see for myself and show Eli where our fruits and veggies would be coming from soon. We met the main man for a tour, tomato planting, and a lunch we had to miss, but I'm sure it was fabulous.

Eli insists on taking his bike everywhere, although we all regretted this one. The mud distressed my little neat freak.

We learned a lot about the farm. Right away he told us about difficulties with a group called Utah Open Land, whose main (noble) priority is protecting land from development, is forcing them to make changes to the farm that would make it more attractive from a distance, but hard to work, like moving their work station to the edge instead of the center, tilling up the paths needed to move machinery and supplies after each use, filling in watering holes for irrigation, and getting rid of the animals. How outrageous! As if this small organic, sustainable farm is trying to do something detrimental to the land. I was sad Eli didn't get to see farm animals. They are hoping to make it an educational place where everyone can come learn about farms as well as tips for growing their own gardens, which will be so helpful once we get a yard. They even go out into the community to teach, like at Wheeler Farms this Saturday. Several groups from nearby universities studying agriculture and nutrition have already come.

The man, David, started organic farming after getting very sick spraying pesticides for his landscaping business, which is still his main source of income. Imagine that, farming on the side! And he doesn't do it the easy way. They specialize in variety, 600 to be exact, which makes it very costly to certify as organic, so starting that has been slow-going. Ten kinds of eggplant, 20 kinds of apples (including one that is pink inside, behind him in the picture), over a hundred types of heirloom tomatoes, and so many more types I can't remember. I didn't know this kind of thing was possible in Utah. I thought we lived in a barren desert only capable of supporting a few basic crops. But he's growing exotic varieties from Asia, Italy and Greece.

And he wasn't kidding about it being a "member planting" day. I thought it was going to be more ceremonious, plant a couple of tomato plants and be done. But he put people to work, and we had to be quick with those tomato plants, which started wilting almost as soon as they were in the sun. Bri did a row of Caspian Pinks before stopping to hold Esme so I could take Eli to get a snack (purple asparagus right out of the ground) to stop his whining.

It ended up being quite an adventure. Bri came with Esme to see what was taking so long when we decided to go get some garlic to take home. Coming back the bees (for pollinating and honey) decided to leave their nice hives and swarm on a tractor near the dirt road we needed to take to leave. It was scary. Even though I stood back a ways with the kids I looked above my head and it was like a highway of bees coming in to land.

Bri made it through the scratchy, lumpy asparagus field to the car so he could drive us through the swarming bees. Farm life is treacherous... and tiring. The few other families that also came were still planting tomatoes, a couple hours later. Definitely earned their lunch.

It turns out we can go visit whenever we want and even pick the extra fruit. Luckily for Brian this includes the many varieties of delicate raspberries that fall if it gets too windy. We were both excited to see a couple kinds of artichokes and many varieties of dark greens starting to grow, favorites in this house. And Eli had fun searching for stalks of asparagus poking up from the ground. Can't wait for our first box in a few weeks. We'll keep an eye out for a tomato Bri planted, as if we could keep 100 different kinds straight.


Kristyn said...

I'm signing up for our CSA very soon...this post made me even more excited about it.

Apples with pink on the inside?? Who knew!

Jeanne Anderson said...

Ooh! How exciting! I wonder if they have anything like that up in the land of Idaho?! I must go searching!

Jeanne Anderson said...

Thanks!! I guess I didn't even realize it, but we've been buying from them for a few years now at the farmer's market, didn't realize they were organic. :)

Grandma Corrales said...

How fun! it looks like you all had a very adventurous and educational time....I bet Brian was in heaven that day!