job hazard

Dear Readers,

There will be no pictures accompanying this post because they would scar you for life.

Here’s the context: I’m participating in the Farmer Training Program in Maryland, which has been wonderful. It involves working all day every Friday at my mentors’ farm– Calvert’s Gift Farm in Sparks, which is just north of Baltimore.

So, I did something a little reckless on Friday at Calvert’s Gift… I waded through a bed of parsnips in order to get closer to the celosia I was trying to harvest. I’ve never had poisoned ivy and rarely have rashes of any kind, so I assumed that I wouldn’t be bothered by the (mythical?) “phyto-photo-dermatitis” that parsnip foliage supposedly can cause.

I was wrong, and consequently, am boycotting parsnips indefinitely. Parsnip foliage secretes a chemical that, when activated by sunlight, causes severe burns. There are chemical burns all over my legs… ouch!!!!!!! Parsnip burn is often accompanied by purpling of the affected skin, which I also have. Yuck. Thankfully, I think the worst of the pain is over– it supposedly lasts only a couple of days.

Phytophotodermatitis. Who knew?!?!?! I should definitely stick to flowers! Luckily, I have lots of calendula salve, which is very soothing to burns.

On the bright side, I have a very exciting news to share later this week. Stay tuned!

Laura Beth

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One thought on “job hazard

  1. Laura, I have even more respect for the power of plants…who would have known that the lowly little parsnip could cause you so much harm? A ‘folk remedy’ that my grandpa taught me was several shots of ingested whiskey to ease pain and inflammation!

    Glad you are over the worst…hope you sleep well while the healing floral salve performs its miracle! Deb Jellick

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