Volume 7, Week 48, July 20–27, 2014
We’ve been having lots of farm tours the last couple weeks. Amy Beth and Jessica put a great deal of effort into organization and making everyone feel welcome and special. They could plan the tours exactly the same, but every single one is always unique, mainly because each group of participants is unique and comes with unique perspectives.
Our farm makes a horizon broadening tour because we have all the orchards, so people get to pick and eat whatever’s ripe today, while learning about organic farming in a commercial context. They also get to see how that fruit comes together with fruit from dozens of other small organic farmers, gets graded, sized and packaged for shipping all over North America.
We usually let the group help pack this box for 5 minutes or so—we couldn’t afford to let ’em help much longer—which forever changes the perspective of how your produce moves efficiently from the various farmers this week to you.
We plan these tours around the arrival of a new flock of baby chicks which is always a highlight and an aha. Most farms have become so specialized, it’s less than one in a thousand around here that still marries into one operation food crops with livestock production. So to be able to take a few steps from a grape patch to a chicken house, see the production challenges of each, and then grasp the organic interconnectedness is something that could be learned from a book, but is better remembered when all 5 senses are engaged. It takes critters of some sort to effectively grow organic crops; in the case of our farm, those critters have been chickens for the last 120 plus years here in Kingsburg.
They let me drive the tractor for the tour hayride because I know where the ripe fruit is and so far, I haven’t thrown any little kids off or run over anyone so I’ll probably get to keep that job.
A great deal of the joy involved in these tours of course is all the children who think they’re coming to the farm so they can run around, climb ladders, pick and eat fruit, get dirty, ride on hay without seatbelts, and hold baby chicks, but whose clever parents have found a way to enhance their education without their suspecting.
Universally, these kids love fruits and vegetables. I know because I ask ’em. Lots of adults have learned later in life how much they’ve learned to like a wide variety of produce as well; some of which they couldn’t even identify a few years ago.
I say bravo to you family chefs who have left the safety of the boring refueling compound, and embraced the adventurous flavor safari that brings your family together to recharge, talk about the new and different flavors and textures they’re enjoying; not in terms of good/bad, but using descriptive words like sweet, nutty, buttery, acidic, and why.
Watch what happens as your family transcends good/bad in describing dinner and applies the principle to describing their day; challenging, happy, a breeze, sad, difficult, and why.
The key is making supper happy; and happy and boring are mutually exclusive in the same way that adventure and safe cancel each other. You kids didn’t know your parents were so adventurous did ya? But trust me, if you’re getting an Abundant Harvest box every week, your family is in the top 1% of adventurers and your family safari is about to take off on another walkabout!