There is so much to tell you, friends! I could write paragraphs about the crazy, bewildering, exhausting, frenzied, super-charged, awesome weekends spent working at Bob’s Corn in October. I could write about how much we accomplished these past weeks (more chickens were harvested, some turkeys were dispatched, we completed our CSA season, built a new goat shelter, survived a massive windstorm, huddled around the woodstove, tromped around in pig muck, etc etc). But what I’d really like to write about today is community. Now that our harvest season has ended, I want to take some time to reflect on the role our members played and how their encouragement and support made our first farming foray such a tremendous experience.
Every week for 21 weeks, the same 26 families stopped by the farm to pick up produce. Slowly but surely we learned everyone’s names, met their children, chatted about the weather. As the weeks progressed we picked up on members’ personalities, hobbies, professional interests. We traded recipe ideas, asked for advice on where to eat, play, hike in the area, and got more and more comfortable with our new friends. Two new babies were born during the season. Many of our families brought their kids to the farm so they could feed the pigs, pet the goats, have picnics, and enjoy their farm. This was more than just a weekly service. The farm is a community space, and having an authentic connection to the people I fed nourished me emotionally.
As the season progressed so did the relationships. One of our members gave us probably ten different homemade jams to try, along with cookies and treats for Zephyr. Another member brought us homemade granola. She always set aside a couple bags, one for her kids, and one for us. We received an offer to borrow kayaks, made a new fishing buddy (who always gives us new poles and bait to play with), and attended a member’s dinner party. I started reading a couple of blogs written by a few moms who are members, and they started reading mine. One of our members frequently travels to Afghanistan for work, and recently she returned with a gorgeous pashmina for me and a warm scarf for Andrew. Another couple gave us a card with the cost of admission to a local Native American heritage museum and an invitation to have dinner with them. We have received offers of warm showers and laundry room use. One of our members is a pilot, and has promised to take me flying over the Cascades. Another member gave us some (very!) constructive criticism, and she was so worried about hurting my feelings that she was in tears (which brought me to tears) and afterwards we hugged each other tight.
These are not experiences I could have had working in an office. I miss the daily interactions with coworkers who became dear friends, but the weekly interactions with my new community eased my anxiety about living in a new place, doing something so new, fumbling my way through this farming adventure. We asked our members to complete a survey for us so that we can improve for the next season. Many people had ideas for growth, and we know that we have much to learn about how to produce the best crops possible. But over and over again we received high marks and comments about our customer service, friendliness, and personalities. This farm isn’t just a business; it is a lifestyle, a place for connection to the earth, food, and people. In other words, this is my community, and I am so grateful to have found it.