Today it is supposed to rain, but by the time Mitch and I get out to the farm the sun is already shining, showing acres and acres of green and gold, the patterns of foliage shifting every few rows as green lettuce gives way to red lettuce which gives way to beans, which gives way in turn to corn.
For Mitch, this is a return to the familiar, stepping out of the car onto the very spot where he started work every day for the last three summers, this one being the first year he’s not worked in these fields but instead, in an office; for me it is a return to a seldom-seen, mysterious place that holds within its grounds some of my best memories of recent summers: the Feast on the Field, lunchtime visits with donuts and “jet fuel,” late afternoon harvests for our own kitchen, farm dinners that extended far into the evening with lots of wine, lit candles and delicious, home-cooked food – the sort of meals that I return to for days afterward, remembering onion tarts, butternut squash lasagne, chicken with figs and green olives.
We came out here to work for the day, both of us, in exchange for fresh vegetables, and to visit with the crew, which has seen only a few changes over the last few years. The morning passes quickly since we arrived a bit late, but by the time break hits, we’re all hungry, and we squeeze around the lunch table to a meal made up entirely of sweets: Kim’s “black and blue” berry pie, Amber’s zucchini bread, my chocolate cupcakes. All three are gone within minutes, victim to the legendary Cedarville sweet tooth, and we all go back to work. (However, I must add that lunch, when it arrived, consisted primarily of fresh vegetables: raw corn, tomatoes, basil, cucumber… Not all is chocolate and pastry, no, it just happens that that is my favorite part.)
By the time we come home at the end of the day, we have more vegetables than we can, as Mitch says, “shake a stick at,” and I have grand plans for them all: pesto, zucchini bread (which is in the oven right now), blackberry pie. We’ll eat well for a while – and then we’ll go back to work for more.