News From the Farm | August 3, 2020

August 1st CSA box, photo by member Maria Grazia  —   

People call Wednesday hump day because they are halfway to the weekend. I am thinking that the next couple of weeks are kind of the hinge or the hump of the Full Belly summer season. We’ve picked our way through the first fields of tomatoes and melons. People in stores are looking for our products because they’ve had a chance to taste some from the early summer. High school kids that were working here for their summer breaks are already talking about needing to go back to school, whatever that may mean this year. Some of the fields are starting to look tired and weedy. The first flush of Spring energy is long-gone and the familiar long-distance runner endurance is kicking in. We’ve kind of made it to the halfway point of the season. In fact, in terms of day length we really are about halfway between the summer solstice and the fall equinox (September 22), so it makes sense that it feels like hump week here on the ground at the Home Ranch.

Packing tomatoes in the background, eggplants and shishito peppers in the foreground. Nearby, just not in the photo are the teams packing melons and flowers.

A friend of ours told us that the word apocalypse has roots in a similar word in the Greek language meaning “a revelation, or to uncover or disclose”. Some are saying the Coronavirus feels like an apocalypse — the terrible economic situation, the shuttering of businesses, the end of air travel, the loss of loved ones, the closing of schools, and the federal overreach when it comes to peaceful protests. It all leads us to a sense that our world has changed profoundly in just a few months. People talk about the future and hope that we will be able to go back to “normal” soon — and surely there will be a time when friendly gatherings will be safe and common again.

But the Greek meaning of the word apocalypse – a revelation – gave me a hint that getting back to “normal” may not be what we actually need and want. What the coronavirus has revealed is the vulnerability of the poor who are getting worse health care and who are more susceptible to serious health outcomes from the disease; it has laid bare the fragility of our food systems when essential front line workers are not protected in the work place; and it has uncovered a festering anger as well as hope and optimism in young people everywhere who deserve better.

On the other side of the meltdown of the meat processing industry, on the future side of the police brutality protests and as a partner in so much of the suffering, is the possibility of creating a different ‘normal’, one that is more resilient in a crisis and more inclusive of human diversity. I may have been so overcome with the sense of planetary suffering and loss in the last few months that I lost sight of the powerful ability in human societies to learn from a crisis and come out of it stronger. Now I’m lighting candles and resolving my thoughts along those lines — Rather than hoping that we will soon get back to normal, let’s resolve to go forward to a better place.

—Judith Redmond

That is a very large heirloom tomato!