Busy, Busy, Busy is the title of this post for good reason. Students are back and we are in the full swing of things. Today was the first big harvest to be distributed to many greek accounts and dorms. This is the moment we have been working towards since last spring. The weather has cooperated and it is finally HOT, which means…. tomatoes and peppers are coming in faster than we can get them out. Oh, did I mention I am also cooking for a fraternity. We are working on cloning as we speak :). Thirteen hour work days are completely worth while once you see that smile on a clients face because he just ate the best cherry tomato he has ever had in his life (which happened all day)! It is amazing to experience the buzz and excitement throughout the company, not to mention the demand, of fresh produce from OUR farm. All of the apprehension of moving the produce is now gone and I am trying to convince my boss that a 1/2 acre is not enough to meet the demand. LOL, might be a different story at the end of this growing season when I finally get a day off. Upward and Onward I say!!!
We have had some exciting things happen since my last post. I must mention that it was very nice of my friend/ coworker Adam to step in and take over for a week. Jeff Kindhart, my farmer friend and mentor from southern Illinois, came up this past Thursday. Every time he makes a visit it is such a treat (even though I frequently have to remind him my background is in culinary arts and not horticulture), especially when he gives me the “duh” look :). I was lucky enough to meet Jeff through the Beginning Farmers program. He is such a great guy to know. Not only does he provide me with loads and loads of knowledge but he also introduces me to techniques I don’t have the means to apply myself. He and his assistant Julie came Friday and steamed my beds. I am beginning to plant for the fall and Jeff introduced and demonstrated a steaming method to prevent weed growth. No weeds you say?? Yes please! Kevin and I spent roughly 85% of our time on our hands and knees weeding the lettuce and spinach beds so they would be clean for harvest. Kevin is not one to complain but I nearly thought he was going to kill me after the 13th hour with our backs aching! Needless to say, we are very excited about this and look forward to the bountiful weed-free harvest in 4-6 weeks.
Reflecting on what a great summer this was, I have to end this post as a small “ode to Kevin”. I can not explain how hard it is to find good people to work with who are invested in the goal, work hard and never complain (even when your ocd leader is driving you crazy). Not everyone wants to wake up at 5:30 in the morning and do back breaking labor all day in the hot sun. It was especially nice doing all of this with a friend. Kevin has gone back to his fraternity to cook but is volunteering every chance he gets. I dropped produce to his house today and overheard him talking to some of his clients about how he planted those seeds, weeded, watered and cared for the product that arrived at his door. He said it with such enthusiasm that this twenty year old client actually lit up when he heard he was going to be eating kale. KALE!!! What twenty year old college kid says that?! Bravo Kevin for making my dream your dream and helping me every step of the way! You will be sorely missed and I am disappointed I will have no one to serenade cheesy 80′s music to.