No words to describe the satisfaction I felt during my leisurely walk through sunspeckled trees at 8:30 am this Monday morning. On South Great Road, cars whooshed by to join traffic. Ha! Hahaha! I don’t work on Mondays! (My apologies to those of you who work on Mondays. Oh wait. That’s most of you…)
Based on your responses, it seems that some of you picked up on the fact that I sounded like a frantic, caged rabbit in my last post. Happily, on Saturday I felt more settled and confident at the farm. Every week, four of us go to the market on Saturday, and one of us stays behind with Matt, the farm manager. This week, I stayed back. Initially I was disappointed not to participate in the first market, but it soon became clear that it was for the better. I had fantastic day on the farm. I seeded many trays of broccoli and pumpkins while talking to Catherine, Matt’s girlfriend and wonderful farm volunteer.
We always seed in the greenhouse, which is rather small as greenhouses go– it’s only slightly larger than a standard living room. It gets pretty warm in there during the day, and we always lather on suntan lotion because the transparent ceiling offers no sun protection. I love being in the greenhouse; we often turn on NPR, and the bright, warm sunlight and quietness of the baby plants feels sacred and special.
In the afternoon, several volunteers came to help weed pea tendrils and thin carrots. They were wonderful; we traded many cooking tips on how to use Easter Egg radishes, which are very strong when raw. One woman, Lily, suggested chopping the radishes up in small pieces, then crushing them slightly with the flat side of her knife. She said crushing them allows them to soak up whatever sauce is used when they’re sauteed. She used soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and some scallions.
Have any of you heard of pea tendrils? I hadn’t. They look like this:
And eventually, they grow peas, and look like this:
(Both pictures courtesy of Google images)
So, pea tendrils– the plants themselves, basically the leaves and stems around the actual pea– are edible, and in fact, SUPER tasty. They are so much fun to cultivate! They’re a lot like curly, unruly hair, growing in all directions and flopping this way and that, and being generally disobedient and yet, somehow totally adorable. We harvest them before they have grown any peas. We cut them about three inches up from the ground, as the lower stem is woody and chewy.
We, the farm crew, often find things in the field: spoons, toy cars, odds and ends. On Saturday, I found a huge ring of keys that were completely rusted over– they looked like they belonged to a pirate. I showed them to Matt, who said, “Hey, those are my keys!” Apparently he’d lost them about three years ago. We all had a good laugh about it.
Marbles are the ultimate cool thing to find. If you find a marble, the entire team will stop and pass it around, admiring its color and guessing its age. I just found out that Fred, a farm volunteer who has been with us for years and years, subtly sows marbles in our fields, scuffing them up so that they look old and worn. He does it solely because he knows we love them. Doesn’t that just make your heart bloom in affection?