This entire strawberry season has felt like this to me. It seemed everywhere I turned was an obstacle, everything I tried to do backfired, the help I hired (bless her heart) just didn't get it. You name it it went wrong this season, the strawberries wouldn't seem to grow and when they did it was erratic, we had our first hailstorm, we had truck and tractor breakdowns, vehicle accidents (my car got backed into a tractor by the new employee while a group was here) the pickers didn't show half the time, I actually fell down in the middle of the field while talking to a group of students and parents from PPK (yes I did. I was simply trying to explain where they needed to walk to get the least muddy and not to fall when my foot slipped right out from under me and I just slid down on my butt. So I had to sit there while forty or so people stared at me as my thighs cramped like crazy and my face turned as red as the berries they were supposed to be picking while the force of irony set in). It was our best and worst season all at the same time. By the end I was just so ready to be done. I wanted to erase the whole miserable 6 weeks from my brain.
Then three things that happened in our last few weeks that renewed my sense of purpose in this profession I've created for myself: 1 - I had customers plan their trip home to Kernersville (near Winston Salem) from their vacation just to come by our farm. (They got lost in Nahunta and I had to tell them that they knew they were doing right when they passed the giant dinosaur. Thank you Benton & Sons for giving me a reason to say that!) How many farms did they pass? 10, 20? They live in the Piedmont (the mecca of strawberry growers) and they came to our farm because they said they were the best strawberries they'd ever eaten. I might be partial (or even a bad judge since I don't eat strawberries) but I have to agree. 2 - I went to the doctor (because of course I had to get my spring [I get one every season usually right before I have to speak to a group] cold during strawberry season. Couldn't have waited a couple weeks or come a little early. That'd be too much to ask) and I asked about making an appointment for The Husband and then told her i'd have to have him call since we farmed and his schedule was erratic and she thanked me for farming. I've never had anyone thank me for farming. 3 - Just today, I was cleaning out my car getting ready to pack for our first CSA drop offs (I NEED a delivery vehicle, one not filled with random happy meal toys and old mail) when a couple pulled up. She actually hugged me and thanked me for what we do, for having a farm where kids could come and see what farming is like.
Things like this have renewed my faith in this little career I've picked. It makes me think that all that stress is worth it in the end. Even though The Boy and The Girl aren't involved in every activity I might wish they could be and I can't be there to do fun stuff with them all the time, The Boy still tells me he's a farmer and gets mad when he can't go to meetings because 'he's a young farmer too' (plus they have a corn maze in their back yard, I'd have to say if I was a 6 year old boy that'd be considered winning). If one person goes home with a new wrinkle in their brain, if one kid goes home and remembers the time they came out to the farm and had fun, if one person eats a great dinner from our CSA boxes, then that gives me the meaning and purpose I've been looking for.
|My strawberry eatin' fool.|