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Local Food Journey

It’s Raining Again

Posted by Tony Ricci on 06/06 at 07:00 AM

Photo Credit Tony Ricci.

It’s raining again. The intermittent stream that runs by our house is so full I could kayak down to the pond. Nothing like a little white water rafting after a brief interlude of weeding the beets. That’s just the way it is on a farm, you go with the deluge.

Every year is different – too wet, too dry, dry and wet at the wrong times. But who are we to dictate a perfect growing season? So far everything that we’ve managed to plant in between the rain looks good. But farmers are bred to be worriers and expert complainers no matter what the current weather conditions are. That’s why some of us go to market – our spouses are sick of the constant whine. We’re like an annoying case of tintinitus. “Get out of here. Get a job. Go sell something!”

And so we do, because we know we’ll have a sympathetic ear and maybe sell a few along the way once we set up our stand. Everyone thinks we come to market to make a living, but we really come for therapy. It’s not enough to have one person to talk to, we need a huge audience. Babies in strollers help. They reduce our blood pressure and make us nostalgic for the days we strapped our own children to our backs and tried to hawk that first home grown tomato. (Our children have their own version of this story but I’m not sure it’s printable.)

But in the midst of this neurosis inducing unpredictability, there is one thing you can count on no matter what weather event is interfering with our otherwise idyllic lives – the farmers will show up. Somewhere in every town you can watch as pickups and vans pull into parking lots and side streets laden with the rich afterthought of our labors. Each vendor will choreograph their unique stage with the props that distinguish their specialty. Various shades of green predominate the displays this time of year as chard, kale, collards, spinach, lettuce are piled high in herbivorous fortresses that we hope our customers will dismantle in their hunger for the first fresh harvest of the season. But it won’t take long before the color spectrum shifts into the impressionistic haze of full summer with tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, onions, potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, peaches.

All this artistic effort just for a little conversation. Most people would be satisfied with chronic cell phone addiction but farmers prefer putting on a good performance. I guess that’s why they call it vegetable production and we get to be the main characters.

{name} Author: Tony Ricci
Bio: Co-owner and operator of Green Heron Farm in southern Huntingdon County | Provides year-round supplies of local, organic vegetables (retail and wholesale) across central Pennsylvania


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