Essential Workers in a Healthy Landscape

Essential Workers in a Healthy Landscape

I started farming at Red Dog when covid hit and I was looking for something meaningful to do with my time. Farming is the kind of “essential work” that makes me feel like I’m making a positive contribution to my community. And, with a CSA over 200 families strong, Red Dog is a major supplier of quality, organic food in our region, and that makes me feel essential indeed!

But working at Red Dog is about more than the meaningful impact I can make. Working here is also a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend my days! On a regular basis, I am surprised and delighted by the beauty that surrounds us as we work to gather your vegetables. On Monday morning, we experienced the first rain we have had in a little while, and I looked up to see this beautiful steam rolling across our newly tilled field. Last week we planted potatoes here, and soon we will see plants arise! Often, as we walk from field to field, we are treated to glimpses of wildlife, from barn swallows darting to and fro (which excites our farm dog, Maggie), to hawks calling high in the sky as they, too, survey the landscape.

I’ll share a few more of my most recent delights found here in our fields. Last week, as we harvested curly parsley, I was excited to find a very mellow butterfly perched atop the stalks. It had gorgeous spots and coloring, with a tapered tail end, much like our friends the barn swallows. In fact, I learned later that this butterfly is actually called a Swallowtail, and that its caterpillars enjoy eating parsley! It’s nice to think about how an organic farm not only feeds the humans in our community, but also a lot of other beautiful critters. I was delighted that this friend in the parsley seemed unfazed by my presence, and simply rested while I cut parsley around her. I wonder if she is still sitting there in the field today, or if she has flown away?

My final delight was a long time coming, and it has to do with an exciting member of our CSA share this week – the spring carrot. These carrots are young and tender, so crisp and so sweet… I really hope you enjoy them as much as I do! I am always on the lookout for strange and beautiful things here, and carrots often provide entertainment in this realm, producing lots of silly-looking carrots that we affectionately call different names like “cowboys” (carrots that have split so they look like they have two legs) and “lovers” (carrots that are intimately twisted together). Anomalies like these tend to form when there are rocks or roots in the soil that the carrots have to grow around, and though they don’t end up looking like your quintessential carrot, they do always make me smile. This week I smiled extra big because I found the ultimate silly carrot – three carrots that had grown together in one big knot like a braid! I’ve been on the lookout for a perfectly braided carrot ever since I started harvesting carrots at Red Dog last year, and finally I found my holy grail.

I hope you enjoy these stories from the field, and that you find little ways to take delight in your days!