Arkansas. Reflections on October.
Diana is a visiting intern
from Ecuador, working this summer at Dripping Springs
Gardens, an intensive market garden nestled in the Ozark
Mountains 60 miles east of Fayetteville, Arkansas, as
part of the MESA program (Multinational Exchange for
Sustainable Agriculture). For more information on MESA,
The season has finished for me here in
Dripping Springs Garden and now I have to leave from this
wonderful place, where I spent seven months, to start a new
adventure on another farm in Vista, California. I have to
say that I have really enjoyed every minute with Mark and
Mike, who are the owners; they have taught me a lot of things
not only about organic agriculture but also about life.
On October 23, Mark, Mike, myself and another friend went
to see Pilobolus
again, but this time was Pilobolus Too (the performance was
only with three persons instead of six as with Pilobolus)
in Eureka Springs. It was a very exhausting day because it
was after market, but it was fun.
On October 30, Mark and I went to a weeding party after market
again; then we went to our friends’ house to watch a
movie and eat dinner before I leave. (I don’t know how
I find all this energy.)
On Wednesday November 3, Mark and I went to Fayetteville
to do yoga and to visit some friends. The day after this I
went to Fayetteville again with one friend to eat ice cream,
because we wanted to spend one more day together.
Saturday, November 6 was my last day at Fayetteville Farmer’s
Market and I had the opportunity to say not “goodbye”
but “see you later” to all my friends and customers.
You never know—maybe someday I can return to this beautiful
state to visit them. On this day all the farmers who attend
this market had a potluck party at which they distributed
some awards for best display, highest sales in one day and
other categories. Dripping Springs Garden got two first places
for highest one-day sales and for outstanding total sales
and one second place for attending the most Farmer’s
Markets. I wanted to share this with you because I am very
proud and feel that we have done such a great job in the garden.
My last farm assignments were:
- Plant garlic
- Harvest kohlrabi, bok choi, mei qing choi, green mustard,
Chinese cabbage, collards, red mustard, tatsoi, kale, carrots,
mizuna and spinach
- Pull zinnias, plastic and drip tape out
- Sow cover crops (wheat and peas)
- Plant tulips
- Clean garlic
- Replace bachelor’s button
- Pull statice out
- Clean hoop house
- Cultivate bachelor’s button
- Move lily crates to greenhouse
- Take zinnia piles to compost
- Weed in the hoop house
- Make bouqets at farmer’s market
It was hard for me to realize that Friday, November 4 was
my last harvesting day, but it made me appreciate this day
Finally, I would like to thank Mark Cain and Michael Crane
of Dripping Springs Garden a lot for this marvelous time.
I will never forget these seven months.
Pennsylvania. November 6, 2004.
After interning for the
summer and part of the fall right here on The Rodale
Institute in Kutztown, Pa., Emily has traveled to Spring
Grove, Pa., to work with low-input greenhouse guru Steve
Moore. Emily graduated from the University of Kentucky
in 1999 and came to the Institute after returning from
two years in Kolda, Senegal with the Peace Corps. For
more on Steve Moore, click
I have visions of hexagons dancing in my head!
I woke up to my second Saturday morning at Sonnewald Natural
Foods yawning off a crazy dream about planting lettuce in
a proper biointensive bed. I could not get the spacing quite
right! It was my solo debut preparing the harvest from the
farm and greenhouses located behind the legendary store. I
munched my healthy Sonnewald-inspired breakfast wondering
that farmer Steve Moore and apprentice Elaine actually trusted
novice me with the weekend harvest.
Fortunately, Sonnewald and Steve Moore attract lots of eager
visitors. I shared my crazy hexagon dream with a weekend volunteer
traveling home from an internship at the Good Life Center
in Maine. I would not be alone. We laughed off our harvest
reservations and decided that we were ready to learn a lot
from a little unsupervised veggie work.
Steve greeted us with a list and me with a couple of carefully
chosen books from his personal library. He takes the learning
agreement with interns very seriously. We walked through the
Saturday plan to relieve my harvest havoc fears.
Steve casually disappeared into his Saturday plans and all
the vegetables suddenly shrank below marketable size or vanished
into unknown corners. The farm looked completely different
from the eyes of responsibility.
We worried that the bok choi was too puny. We worried that
we harvested the collards too hard. We worried that our chard
and kale bunches were of variable size. We worried that the
lettuce was too tender and floppy. We second guessed our common
sense, wandered in search of bigger and better plants, and
finally decided that common sense had served us well. The
harvest was beautiful and delivered promptly with confidence.
Only the veggies and the elusive greenhouse rat would know
that we had ever doubted our harvest judgment.
The produce manager made a second harvest order. Uh-oh.
We stared at unripe eggplant and pondered the marketability
of rat-chomped peppers. We finally agreed on one more pac
choi and swiftly gathered more lettuce after a vain search
for good mizuna. Our confidence a little shaken (but reparable)
we delivered the second harvest and ran away to calmly seed
wheat grass and plant lettuce in perfect hexagon patterns.