Friday, August 7, 2009

Fridays on the Farm

With the long summer days I been working four ten hour days in my job as an electrician's apprentice. It makes for a long day, but a free Friday is a great treat. Of course, that Friday didn't stay free for long.

I have been able to help out at Indian Ridge Farm and Bakery, the farm where I spent the last two growing seasons, on Friday mornings. It makes for an early day leaving in time to arrive at 6:30 am. But the early mornings are beautiful and the day of farm work is well worth it.

Indian Ridge Turkeys

I don't do anything spectacular or unusual at Indian Ridge. I just help out with chores and a project or two so they can get off to the Telluride farmers market on time. It isn't glamorous, but it is fun to be active in food production. Perhaps the most enjoyable part is talking with the other interns about their agricultural experiences ranging from food to farming. The wonderful part about being an intern is the opportunity to have an outsiders view of a farm. Sure one is generally fully immersed in farm life for a season, but it is usually only one season at a particular farm and so the intern is free to make observations without the economic constraints of actually running the farm. It is an ability I hope to be able to carry over into my own techniques as a farm manager-always stay open minded and inquisitive.

From the farm I generally race back to Telluride to catch the tail end of the farmers market (kind of ironic to race to Norwood early so they can make it here on time, then to race back to try to catch the market myself). Sometimes I am tired and don't really feel like going to the market. But every time I do I am rewarded for my efforts.

In his book Deep Economy Bill Mckibben discusses how on average a shopper at a farmers market has ten times the number of conversations as a shopper in a super market. This is what I love about the market. It is a community activity with vendors and buyers alike happy to be there and excited about good food, new flavors, and delicious smells. It is really amazing how different the simple act of buying food can be at a farmers market compared to the grocery store. At the market people are smiling, talking, enjoying the outdoors, and making plans for dinner. When was the last time you heard a group of strangers laughing together in the grocery?

I look forward to our farm being a similar focal point for curiosity, exploration, good food, and laughing. See you there!

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