This week's CSA column is written by Julia Holup, our Operations Coordinator. Julia manages the farm crew, overseeing our daily greenhouse and field work. She keeps us all organized, and makes the most of every day on the farm.
August is an exciting time to be a farmer, equal parts challenging and delicious as a wider array of crops begin to bear fruit for the picking. It offers mental and physical challenges: a complex puzzle for the mind, and an obstacle course for the body. The weeds enjoy the sunshine as much as our crops, keeping us on our toes and daring us to get comfortable. To farm well requires constant effort and attention, an eye for disease threats and soil deficiencies, irrigation needs and the timing of harvest. Good farming has no autopilot. Even nowadays, as our crew works like a well-oiled machine, harvesting with speed and washing- weighing- packing like an elegant dance, the challenge remains. Working outside, there are days of discomfort, and jobs that produce more exhaustion then pleasure, but it’s the brow-wiping dog-days of weeding, and mud-packed harvests that give wonderful weight to the moments that only farming can produce- the glowing morning mist in Corner Field or the afternoon breeze up on the hill while harvesting snap peas. It’s the brush with the margins that draws me to farming– the low points- that make the highs that much greater.
Many years ago, I fell in love with running, the kind done as deep in the woods and as far from a treadmill as possible. And I think the happiness I gather from both activities is made up of the same elements. In running, like in farming, it's about people who wear their passion on their sleeves, real connections and caring and rooting each other on, it’s character to your core, it’s optimism and determination, it's my-legs-are-burning-feeling but you push through it, it's taking a stumble and getting to your feet again, it's catch-your-breath scenery, it's commitment and training and feeling successful, it's sharing a meal (even at an aid station), it's fun, friendships, and smiling when no one but the tree line above can see how happy you are, 4500 feet up, or right on Stout Oak Farm.