My apologies for not writing in a while. I had a bad bike accident and, among other injuries, broke my elbow. Typing has been tricky but I am finally on the mend and feeling inspired by the start of CSA season. Results from the most recent RecipeHacking challenge will be posted soon, I promise. I wrote this last Saturday, June 11th and thought I should probably get it up here before our next visit to the farm.
Today was the first pick-up day for our CSA farm share. After a year away, we returned to our favorite farm in the happy valley, Brookfield Farm in Amherst.
This morning it was raining cats and dogs. My son woke up early. My husband wasn’t feeling well so decided to stay home. I was grumpy. I was looking forward to bringing breakfast and hanging out at the farm with my family all morning. Things did not feel like they were going my way. As much as I’ve been looking forward to CSA season starting, today it was feeling like a long drive and a bit of a chore to go. But as soon as I pulled into the familiar parking lot and walked into the shop and looked out to the fields, I felt all the grumpiness and tension vanish.
We picked up our greens and our darling little French breakfast radishes. Despite the rain, we were invited to go ahead and pick strawberries. And not just a little handful, but 2 quarts!!! Toby and I tromped off into the soggy fields. He was undeterred by the weather and made me forget to be cranky about it. He delighted in the squishy mud and the rooster crowing as we passed by. I told him he was saying “cock-a-doodle-doo – welcome to the farm Toby” which Toby repeated and turned into a song as he marched up and down the rows. The strawberries were beautiful and plentiful and I quickly filled our two berry baskets. After that we made our way over to the rhubarb. Toby says “woo-barb” and I love it. He helped me carry the stalks after I cut them and he waved the big leafy fronds like he was landing an airplane. We looked for the pigs but couldn’t catch a glimpse of them, most likely hiding from the rain in their little hut. (I thought pigs were supposed to like mud!)
Back at the shop I had a nice chat with Pete, one of the farm apprentices. I talked with him about why we left Brookfield (location) and why we decided to come back (community). Talking through it all, I realized I have a new appreciation for all the special things about Brookfield. Despite the distance, Josh and I agreed it was the sense of community that Brookfield fosters that made us long for it last year. The picnic tables invite you to linger. The kids area is within view of the shop and has a sandbox and other toys. I love chatting it up with other shareholders as we’re picking out our veggies or harvesting in the fields, comparing recipes or notes on how to preserve our bounty. Brookfield feels like a well-oiled machine and being a member there and being part of the community there feels easy. So, in the end we were convinced, it’s well worth the drive. This year we decided it’s about committing to making our visit to the farm a weekend event every Saturday morning. Rain or shine, as our little boy in his big rubber boots will remind us.
Today I caught a glimpse of what this season is going to be like on the farm with Toby, filled with wonder and discovery and a million questions. And I already know, it’s going to be magical. When we first moved to the area and joined Brookfield, I remember seeing other people with their small children in the fields. And I remember thinking how cool to be able to provide this kind of learning opportunity and connection with nature and our food. Now that I have a child of my own, I’m glad Brookfield will be the place where Toby will be making all kinds of discoveries – this season and in seasons to come.
Today at Brookfield it felt like coming home again. Looking out at the fields and surveying the land before I climbed back in the car to drive home, I almost cried – I was so overcome by a sense of belonging. So, thank you Brookfield Farm. It feels so good to be back.