Roundabout Farm 10.17.07

October 17, 2007
Roundabout Farm
8 AM

The rickety wooden bridge on Black Cat Road is closed today for repairs; I circle back around and arrive at the farm from the other direction and enjoy finishing my coffee and listening to music. Pearlie the puppy is with me, and she starts panting when the road gets rougher as this is a sign that we are nearing the fun.

Although it is October and dry as a bone, Roundabout’s fields are laden with food. The mixed greens and arugula that Megan and I planned on in March have finally become a reality and in such quantity that they have planned to unload these pricey, premium products on their 82 member CSA. I join John in the field to finish up arugula; I smell the distinctive peppery fragrance when I am still twenty yards away. He gives me a quick tutorial in harvesting greens; crouch or kneel, gather each bunch in one hand, make a quick slice with a sharp harvesting knife (without sawing) and dump the handful into the bucket. The earth is moist with dew and the sun is starting to get strong. I slice the knuckle on my left thumb and have to get a band aid when we carry the greens back up to the barn.

Megan fills grape-lugs with greens (mixed, arugula, and asian mix) and submerges them in a horse trough filled with cold water – hydrocooling, John says, to bring the temperature down. John and I continue to an upper field to harvest kale for the CSA. He notices that the deer have finally found this field. At his urging, I do notice some insect holes and deer nibbles, but my eye is caught by the shape, colors and integrity of the plants. We harvest bunches of red Russian kale, which is light blue ribbed with red; we have counted out the proper number of rubber bands and keep them looped on our wrists so we don’t lose count. When we switch over to a lighter colored, bigger kale I think the bunches look like showgirl headdresses, curving and feather-like. We lug the large buckets back to the barn to hydrocool the kale, which is completely water resistant like a rubber wetsuit. Once clean, we stack it in grape lugs and carry each to the walk in. Megan asks if other farm operations are more sanitary than theirs, and I reply with honesty that they are not. Since Roundabout is newer and bigger than most operations I have seen, it seems they are still settling into their space and gradually finding the flow or organization of their operation. There is a lot of mud, which is typical, and rather than unsanitary I would call it dirty on account of all the red Virginia clay-dirt. When I leave the farm I am covered in fine putty colored dust, which is their topsoil drying and blowing away in the drought.

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~ by a local notion on November 26, 2007.

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