Roundabout Farm 10.3.07

October 3, 2007
Roundabout Farm, Keswick, VA
10 AM

I arrive to the barn/house to find Anthony and John adhering the Roundabout logo to the back of the box truck (or Reefer truck, as it is referred to within the distribution industry). Megan has been driving it for several months now, and she grins as we list the things she can’t do in it now that it is branded – hit street signs, shout obscenities, beat her 2 year old daughter at stoplights. I snap a few photos of John and Anthony, the twin brothers who act as farm manager and assistant respectively. I look around their new workspace, admire Megan’s new office complete with computer and wine storage, remark at the immense 3 bin sink that flanks the processing area (the sink of my dreams!) and then she and I head out to harvest flowers.

She had suggested earlier this week on the phone that the time might be right to harvest the end of her flowers in anticipation of the first frost, projected for 10/17. She is harvesting for her flower CSA and for a few retail customers; she focuses on snapdragons, celosia (so gorgeous, fluted velvet that more closely resembles coral than bloom), zinnias, and a few wild weeds that she crafts into mixed bouquets. She moves quickly and automatically, stripping brown leaves and faulty buds and then dropping each stem into salvaged olive buckets. I walk more slowly among the zinnias, searching for perfect blooms that will be suitable for drying and merely marveling at the variety of color, of shape among one type of flower. We talk of our friends, of the Saturday market (best week ever last week, with higher-dollar crops like greenbeans, mixed greens, arugula), of other farms and farmers and of our tentative plans to work together in the future.

We take the flowers back in to get them out of the sun, and I fall in love with them, taking the time to arrange them on crinkly paper in the hopes the blooms will dry evenly. Megan arranges mixed bouquets seemingly without thought or deliberation; when I move over to help her and remark at her speed, she replies that since she does this each week she already knows what colors look good together and doesn’t have to deliberate. I help, but with such lack of skill and speed that I wonder if I should just watch. When we finish, I hang the flowers for drying on a makeshift rack in the some-day bathroom and put the papered flats on the floor beneath the longer stems.

We retire upstairs to their new home, a 3 bedroom flat on the second level of the barn. Megan pulls food out of the walk-in, out of her refrigerator, and presents a peach pie-like item that we snack on as she heats leftovers from their dinner last night. She serves local sausages, pasta with squash and sage cream (‘like carbonara, with eggs mixed in’ she had described earlier), chips and roasted eggplant puree. Delish.

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~ by a local notion on November 26, 2007.

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