AUSTIN, TEXAS — After all my yelling and banging on my drums about eating organic, I finally actually worked on the farm where some of our local organic produce comes from. Yes, a little action here and less talk.
I signed up for the Johnson’s Backyard Garden work share/volunteer program, which is a way that I thought I could:
A.) See the actual workings of a community-supported organic farm.
B.) Trade some work for a delicious box of JBG Organic Produce. (Come’on…a good bag of groceries can be quite costly.)
At 8 a.m. this morning there I am at the farm in my workin clothes, sunglasses and straw-brimmed hat.
I am there to work. I’m thinkin I’m gonna be dropped off from some tractor trailer into the middle of grape fields or somethin…I mean, I’m thinking ‘Grapes of Wrath.’
I’ve got my bug spray, my gallon jug of water and a handful of almonds just in case I starve to death millions of miles from civilization.
But I am set up at a cutting table underneath a huge tree and the summer sunlight is streaming through the leaves and it is relatively cool for an Austin summer morning.
I handled all varieties of cabbage and made them more attractive (i.e. taking off their exterior two layers, before they were taken off to be washed.) About two hours into this work, a hand comes and gets me and says help is needed with the carrots.
This is the process … all the sweet carrots in various yellows, oranges and purples are picked, washed and then transferred to the sorting table, where I was.
I selected carrots by size, by one pound increments and bagged them.
Twist ties are used to seal em up and ship em out. (You are working alongside people who really love organic produce and the process of making it ready for market. And I found they usually like cooking it up as well…so the workshare becomes recipeshare. Voila.)
At 1 a.m. the actual guy who started the farm came around and told us it was QUITTIN TIME…(I imagined some steam-run bell going off in the distance.)
They even said they had some left over from something else…take as much as you want, they said. What nice folks!! Thanks JBG for such a great experience. And thank you for providing us all with such great produce. Yum!
(I’ve already looked up a recipe for the leeks from the Vegeterian Times: Sweet Potato Leek Gratin.)