I drove out to the farm the other day, fighting construction on WA-16 and congestion on I-5. These day it seems like everyone decides to drive somewhere at the exact moment that I need to go to the farm. Traffic was never this bad in the winter or spring. What gives?
Not to mention how busy life has been, in general. Work is busiest for me in the summer, since I work for a real estate company. Summer season = real estate season. In addition, we are involved in church, and we want to deepen our relationships with friends and family. Then there are all the wonderful fairs and festivals that come with summertime that we haven’t even had the energy to go to. I’ve lived in Tacoma for almost 5 years, and I’ve never even been to the Taste of Tacoma. There are a lot of good things in my life, but it’s easy to feel stretched thin come July & August.
I have a little garden plot and some potted flowers. I dream of having backyard chickens and a big spice garden one day. Some days I think it would be nice and quaint to retire to the country, live of a few acres and grow everything we eat. But who am I kidding? We don’t have the gusto to farm. Mr. Wetzel and I are urbanites. And each summer we are far too strung out to have the energy to care for plants or livestock on top of everything else we have going on.
Sure. I could be romantic and impractical; I could quit my job and be a full-time gardener, but let’s get real here, people. I kill half of everything I plant. I forget to weed. The only reason my plants survive is I keep trying and get lucky with a few of them. Besides, I like my job a lot, and my skill set is much more suited to customer service and administration.
The other day I fought the traffic to get out to Terry’s Berries. When I arrived, it was a gorgeous, sunny day, but I needed to grab the produce, drop it off at home, and get back to work to activate a couple new property listings. When I arrived at the farm, we had strawberries included in the share, but the sign said: “1 pint of strawberries. Pick your own. Strawberry patch this way.”
My first thought was. “I don’t have time for this. I need to get back to work;” but then I realized how high strung I was, took a deep breath (or five), grabbed a green pint basket and thanked the goodness that I wore tevas instead of flip flops. I strolled out to the strawberry patch. I took my time. Soaked up some Vitamin D. Sampled a few extra berries during my toil (I imagine Terry must have known this would happen!).
When I got back to the car, bagged veggies on the back seat, I looked down at the warm little pint of strawberries snuggled into the shotgun seat beside me. “I picked those,” I thought. “Those are fresh, Erin-picked berries.” As I drove home, and eventually back to work, I carried a sweet, warm, calm bit of the farm back within my heart.
We don’t have to be full-time farmers. Mr. Wetzel and I will never be anything more than occasional gardeners. It’s important to us, though, to support local agriculture, not just for the food that goes into our bellies, but also for a connection to the earth that is found beyond air conditioned offices, USDA labels and the ether of the internet. We don’t need to give our lives to the soil. We just need to be reminded, once in awhile, where we came from and where we’re going. It helps to put everything in perspective. It helps us to slow down.
(clockwise around the outside, starting with bottom left corner):
- Lettuce (2 heads)
- Dandelion Greens
- Fava Beans
- Summer Squash (there were yellow ones available, too, but I thought these little green ones looked tastier)
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Snow Peas
- Raspberries (in the middle) (duh, right?)
- 1 dozen eggs