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Photo by Meg
A few weeks back on a Sunday, one could find three farmers crouched in a field cutting arugula. Two hours later, and one could still find three farmers crouching in the same field cutting the same arugula. You see, Sundays are the biggest harvest days of the week, for it is a CSA harvest day. With approximately 300 CSA members, it means that we need to harvest 300 of everything. 300 green peppers, 300 ripe peppers, 300 bunches of chard, 300 heads of garlic, and that day, 300 bags worth of arugula. 42 buckets worth. 
If this doesn't seem daunting enough, let me describe the situation a little more. The arugula was a touch past its prime, and extremely weedy. The final result? Painstakingly searching for the best of the bunch, and carefully avoiding and picking out weeds. Let me just take a moment to remind you that there were only three of us there. That's 14 buckets a piece. 

Now I don't mean to complain vomit all over you - it wasn't all bad. The weather was beautiful and our conversations good. But the fact of the matter is, doing anything for two hours is a tad taxing. 

Nevertheless, two hours later at 2 o'clock and we proved victorious! We completed the task at hand and joyously packed the truck with the now-filled-bins of greens which we never wished to see again, and looked forward to a much-needed lunch (2 o'clock is an EXTREMELY late lunch for farming). Piling into the truck on the ride back, I sat, grinning dopily and dreaming of my sandwich back at the little barn while the harvest manager phoned back to the wash-up crew. Various words from their conversation reached my ears such as "arugula," "wash-up," and "lunch", but my sun-fried brain had little capacity to string anything together. When he hung up, something slowly clicked into place.

"...We're not going to wash all this arugula before lunch are we?" I asked with trepidation.
"Ya darn tootin' we are!" responded Dan with a wild smile on his face.
And I laughed. A weary, crazy, exhausted laugh. A laugh that is used when something is so ridiculous that there is really nothing else you can do. The farmer's laugh.  

Because really, what else can you do?

This has actually proved to be an important aspect of farm life. There is a lot of room for potential complaint on the farm. One could be too hot, too cold, too wet, too tired. The vegetables could be too shitty, too much, or not enough. However, I have found that complaining just aggravates the already less-than-ideal situation. It does not make you, or those around you feel any better, and in fact often makes things that much worse. Learning to laugh and roll with punches (or in this case, the arugula) is a valuable skill in that it can tame any daunting task. For suddenly, it makes you in charge of the situation, and in charge of your own fate. You are in charge of creating your own happiness. 

 


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