Well, I'm off tomorrow for the Back 40-it's the 40th anniversary of the Apprenticeship Program at UCSC's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems; aka the Farm & Garden.
It's a whole weekend of stuff at the Farm, tours and Recollections in the Garden, Symposiums and the like. There's even a reception or two, which B & I will have to forgo, it's just so dang expensive. Saturday night's farm tour, dinner and music in the apple orchard is 60 bucks a person! Which is really too bad, because the food is going to be amazing.
Confessions of a Gluttonous Farmer
I think my 6 month Apprenticeship can be characterized as a time of hard work, afternoon naps in unlikely places (the grape vines in the Down Garden, the kiwi orchard in the Field), and long days of gorging myself with fruit and vegetables....the strawberries from the Field, and the peaches pluots and apples in the Up Garden-I used to navigate the perilous slopes of the Up Garden (that's the Chadwick Garden) with my pockets bulging with fruit. The Meyer lemons, the golden raspberries and tiny plums from behind the Chalet, I've never eaten so good! We used to walk the fields on a Monday morning, checking the crops and talking about what we were going to do during the week. I recall one day, moving from carrots to tomatoes to beans to corn, just snacking, tasting here and there, sampling pears and plums trying to see what we were going to harvest for our CSA & Market Cart. We ate from 8 AM straight until the lunch bell at 12, when we all stumbled into the Farm Center and loaded our plates with another amazing organic meal. Little wonder I usually would have a wee kip (read: "pass out") in a shady spot after lunch before hauling myself up to do it again in the afternoon.
Honesty (Lunaria annua)
In similar vein to the high school reunion last weekend, I am facing a certain amount of temptation to sort of.....pad the truth, a little bit, about what I've been doing for the last 5 years. "You were in the Apprenticeship?....... So do you have a farm?" is a question that's "cropped up" (ha ha) over the years. Going on to something great is sort of expected, and the pressure is fierce to look good and sound important. You can imagine the stress trying to produce a farm in the last few weeks; to join some noble gardening cause to which I can casually claim membership. In the end I decided to be counter-cultural instead and just tell the truth. I know, I'm such a radical.
I will produce photos of my lovely grounds at the Seamill Centre, and of my even more lovely daughter, which is the main crop I tend now. (And talk about going on to something great!) Aaahhh, sweet relief. Maybe I can even climb out of my blasted self long enough to see other people; to be "the salt of the earth", a sower and reaper, a fisher of men & women.