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Food Narratives: Boundary lines and Bridges

What is one thing that your mom’s pantry always has?  

We smiled as many shared reminiscently about childhood pantries filled with boxes of fruit roll-ups, packaged dinners, pre-made convenience foods that we all knew.  I thought of the bright yellow powdered chicken stock, dotted with green flecks of something (some dried herb perhaps), that my mom always had.  “It adds umami,” she’d always say, in Chinese.

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Harvest News

It seems that our days are filled with bright colours.  We harvested some intensely red Raxe radishes this week.

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Life is full of hello’s and goodbye’s.  We said hello to bush beans–a humble but nonetheless happy first harvest.  And we said goodbye to beets–we sowed the last beet seeds of the season, a variety called Winter’s Keeper (its name tells much).  Though it will still be a while before we get to harvest and enjoy those baby beets, we were reminded of how fast the season is moving.  Not much more planting to do…

"Hello beans, Goodbye beets," says Hanne.

“Hello beans, Goodbye beets,” says Hanne.

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Community

Let’s Pause.

“Ah!  So beautiful!”
Intern Hanne is gleeful as she peels back the soil-y layer of garlic skin to unveil a spotlessly white and smooth layer beneath–garlic!

“You’re rubbing off on her, Jenny,” Farmer Scott remarks.  (“So beautiful!” is an oft-used comment we have at the farms.)

“Well, what else can you say about our veggies?”

“You could say, ‘That’s freakin’ awesome!!!’ “

I guess both serve the same purpose.  

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And so, garlic cleaning and emphatic expressions of wonder and awe continue…

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The very first day, Monday, March 16th. When mornings were still cool enough for dewdrops.

Well, it’s been over four months since this Adventure first began.  How is it that this journey has past the half-way point?!  Over mountaintops of gatherings filled with stories and laughter, through valleys of muscle-sore days and endless beds to prep, and frolicking amongst meadows of fragrant lavender and parsley–this experience has been so full. 

At times tiring, at times overwhelming, but at all times plein de meaning and refreshing joy, there have been so many gifts.  This week, I thought it’d be a good time to pause and share some of these gifts, through some photos (before they begin to gather digital dust).

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Garlic Cleaning

“Can I just pick one leaf to show her what it smells like?”

“Sure, go ahead!”

Shoulders looped with bags–perchance carrying snacks and extra layers for their morning outing–Grandma bends down to pluck a single cilantro leaf, holds it up for her granddaughter to sniff.  

“This is cilantro,” the rolling Spanish sounds like to me.

“Thank you!” A friendly smile from the elder, and a shy glance from the younger.  Grandma and granddaughter continue on their walk.

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All Grown Up

I stretch the measuring tape along the length of each wooden beam.  2 feet 6 inches, 3 feet… I mark off increments with a ballpoint pen.  Flipping and flopping, the tape makes a tin-foily sound that reminds me of measuring empty apartments and furniture dimensions with my mom.  Arranging inside the walls of our new home.  

Today, I help build a home of a slightly different sort…

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Stories of Twist Ties and Purslane

The smell of lavender greets my waking, aching body, as I will myself to crawl out of bed. Another day. 

Gifts from the garden, bringing comfort in the home.

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Hands

So I finally resolved to spend some time to stretch last night.  Interestingly, it’s been a challenge being disciplined with stretching regularly.  ‘Twill do me good, I know!

This week the harvest was a bit smaller than what we’ve been having since Salad Box season started. But those boxes still ended up looking full and bounteous. Lots of leafy lettuces, chard, parsley, scallions, and—for the first time this season—beets! We also pulled the very first head of garlic out of the ground!  A momentous moment.  That’s the good, so good.

June 25th food

(Clockwise from L to R: garlic scapes, our first head of garlic, cilantro, Chioggia beet)

The bad? Twist tie troubles. Usually we count out ties corresponding to the number of bunches of something that we need before going out to harvest. This week as we were packing, we realized we were short on a number of different items. This was likely the result of one of two things: miscounting or losing twist ties.

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A Fresh Roots Adventure: Join Me

Boom, boom, boom–hole, drop, cover.

Seedling after seedling gets nestled into its newly prepped bed. Soil plugs in transplant trays spread into three staggered rows of tender young kale plants. The greenhouse was so safe and warm, but the time has come to thrust them into the “real world”.

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This past Monday, we harvested 101 bunches of kale!  I think back to the time we transplanted these kale plants into this bed–they were just babies!  Now they have grown strong stalks and lusciously giant leaves. They grow up so fast, don’t they?

Seeding, transplanting, watering, weeding, waiting.  Life stages of a plant, life stages of a person.  

Hello there!

I love Amethyst radishes. (Photo by Scott Bell)

My name is Jenny, and, like our kale plants, I am being thrust into the “real world” of farming.  As one of this season’s Schoolyard Farm Interns, I have the privilege of experiencing first hand the aches, pains, and joys of what it takes to grow and share Good Food.

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