Life on the farm

Katie McCrea ’13, PTF Coordinator

The heat has arrived. Not the most profound observation, I know, but it’s the truth and that’s good enough for me. Katie, Sarah Beth, and I have been heading to the farm at 8:00 am to avoid the sun’s midday intensity. By 11:00, beads of sweat threaten to run down our foreheads, our shadows have begun to disappear, and we’ve already taken a water break or two. We hold out for another hour or so before retreating to CPS or home, our skin hot and our tans deepened (the three of us have developed some rather unsightly tan lines.). We might start setting our alarms for 7:00, or perhaps even earlier, as the summer winds its way into July.

 The evenings, however, have been pleasant. A few dozen friends experienced the farm in this state on Monday evening during our first potluck of the season. What a success it was! About 75 CSA members, community residents, farmers, and students joined us. We caught up with old friends, made several new ones, and piled our plates high with delicious food. A handful of children even performed a feat of magic by turning our pile of mushroom compost into a slide! Maybe they’ll make all of the weeds disappear during our next potluck, to be held a few weeks from now.  Until then, we will rely on ourselves and on our volunteers to keep the weeds at bay. Earlier this week we hosted a group of Baltimore-based high school students who are on a weekend retreat at the Lutheran Seminary. Their twenty-six hands made swift work of our weed-ridden walk-rows, which are always the last part of our garden to be cleared. Weeds are awfully good at their job, however, and the walk-rows will soon return to their previous state if we don’t keep on top of them.


Omar Macazar, community gardener

Beyond the day to day operations of the farm, I think I’m beginning to strengthen my relationship with the PTF families. The language gap between us is palpable, but their ability to understand English and my limited ability to speak Spanish has enabled us to shorten the gap between us. Unsurprisingly, perhaps even predictably, we bond over food. Our flourishing cilantro has opened the door to conversations about favorite recipes, guacamole and pico de gallo foremost among them. The families have also taught me to reexamine what I consider to be edible. Our garden produces copious amounts of purslane, an annual succulent that is the bane of my existence. For many of our families, however, purlsane is a culturally appropriate crop that is often hard to find in stores in this area. So while I might toss purslane in with the thistles and the pokeweed, some families collect it with as much gusto as they would pick a tomato. Hopefully they will be willing to share some recipes with us!

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Sean Pethybridge