The long, slow fruition of all the heat longing solonacea, who sulked through June’s cool nights, has finally begun to show promise, as clusters of Sun Gold, Lemon Drop, and Black Cherry tomatoes have emerged jewel-like on sprawling indeterminate vines, and peppers and eggplant are standing tall above inter-planted lettuce.
Thalia, our seasonal intern, looking gourd-geous draped in a harvest of cucurbitae moschata.
We’ve been lucky with the weather, too, lately, which has been a reasonable mix of sun and shower, and with the help of hardworking farm hands. Our intern, Thalia, who came all the way from Texarkana via Oklahoma, is a breed of young agri-ficionados who are not only committed to healthy, sustainable food culture, but to food justice as well: She volunteers at a local food bank feeding under-privileged communities. Her work on the farm this season, bopping around plugged into iTunes, tirelessly weeding and harvesting, has been invaluable. Now I’m hopelessly spoiled.
On a recent book project, I photographed urban farms around the country, and met some seriously passionate young farmers, determined to changed the world by changing how we eat. Just when you thought the planet was at a tipping point of wasteful indifference, a generation seems to have come along that cares more than we ever did. I wanted to take them all back to the Farm in my carry-on.
Asking for help on the farm did not come easily to me. I’m not a natural delegator. I suppose my father’s own frustration with raising chore-averse children has something to do with it. If you want something done, best to do it yourself, was his mantra. And as a retired diplomat, he’s lived his life in the subjunctive, where desires are indirectly expressed, like a wish. But to delegate presumes a life lived in the imperative: ”These are the weeds. Yank them out.”
So I now get applications to intern at Stonegate from all over the country, through the auspices of NOFA (Northeast Organic Farmers Association), and have become a born-again delegator and mentor (is there a Jesus-fish equivalent when you’ve seen the light of hiring help?). We’re even turning the old stable into worker housing. The groundswell of interest in organic, sustainable farming is remarkable, as is the character and values these kids possess. For farms and food, the future is undeniably now. -Mb