“Nature is something we are; not just something with which we relate.” - Eric Alan, from ‘Wild Grace’
“You dig all these carrots by hand? ” I was asked when we stood in the carrot field pulling fresh orange “treasures” out of the soil during last Saturday’s Community Field Day. “We sure do, every single one of them” I confirmed. Digging for carrots almost rivals the excitement kids get when picking strawberries. There is something special about tugging on a bunch of leaves not knowing exactly what will appear out of the ground – like going treasure hunting.
Here on the farm, carrots are harvested by first loosening the soil with large digging forks, after that they are pulled out of the ground, sorted and bunched by hand.
It’s pretty simple, like with all food it comes directly from the earth. Although we now have tractors and mechanical tools to help us, small scale organic vegetable and fruit farms like ours rely mostly on hand labor. It is a collective, mostly manual effort – from sowing the seeds, planting, weeding, cultivating, watering, harvesting, washing, packing to finally delivering the food. And if your kitchen is anything like ours, a lot of hands will continue in the preparation and cooking of the freshly harvested crops transforming them into a nourishing meal.
The objective of our monthly Community Farm Days is to give an opportunity to interact with the land, to plant, harvest, taste, and “join hands” with everyone involved in growing food. When it comes to working hands on this farm, I can’t think of anyone else than the incredibly dedicated group of people who work tirelessly to make it possible for us to enjoy a sampling of their effort, reaped from this land they care and nurture every day. May 1st is the official International Workers’ Day, a good day to reflect on all those who use their hands to bring nourishing food into our lives.