I love opening the Free Farm Stand on a hot sunny day, though keeping the produce from wilting is a challenge. We tried the new method of having two tables set up one loaded with left over produce from the farmer’s market and the other with produce grown more locally.
The idea being that the home grown garden produce that neighbors and the community have brought to share doesn’t get lost among the commercially grown produce. I actually don’t know if people really noticed the separation. Maybe with the price of organic vegetables being pretty high people just concentrate on getting the fresh produce and the fact that their neighbor might have grown it gets lost with some people. Or maybe you have to be a gardener to really appreciate and understand the effort that goes into bringing food to our tables. And it is more than that, it is almost a religious experience to be involved in growing some of your own food, it connects us to that life force and to the divine and Holy Spirit. It reminds us of the everyday miracles that occur in our gardens. I know that a lot of people coming to the Free Farm Stand understand this already, because people immediately feel some joy just being around the food that radiates good vibes. Maybe I am getting too far off the deep end here and I should go back to the practical.
Here is what was on the home grown table: fava beans (we harvested another 35 lbs. from 18th and Rhode Island), a small basket of berries picked from Treat Commons (three or four blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries), a small amount of wintergreen mint from Treat Commons, and some delicious baby lettuce from the salad lawn at the Secret garden. Later two people came by with more fava bean and one woman brought a small amount of chervil which is a delightful herb that we all should be growing more of, and a friend came by with surplus parsley that she had grown.
I was telling someone that the home grown table is the hope section because we hope we will have more produce on the table some day. It is like the story “The little Engine that Could”. We think we can, we think we can (grow more food for all). I also printed up flyers in Spanish and English that explained in detail the goals of the Free Farm Stand. I saw very few people taking them, though I did hand out some. Later in the day I got around to adding seedlings to the table. There was a lot of interest in seedlings and I managed to give quite a few away.
The crowd of people was not as large as last week, maybe because of the heat or the Bay to Breakers. I was quite busy though because we were a little short on people to be at the table.
So this is where things are at right now with the Free Farm Stand. As we move into summer some of our regular volunteers that were students are going to be away, some temporarily. One of my favorite helpers Thy has graduated and is moving to the L.A. area. So the stand is going to need more help. And I am still trying to get the garden booth up and running, where we not only give out plants and seedlings, but we are available to answer garden related questions. We are also short on Spanish speaking volunteers at the stand which is really important. Here is something I am putting out to the universe: I would love to find someone I can train that could learn the process of running the stand from start to finish, so that if I couldn’t be around some week the stand could remain open.
Ending on an up note, the gardens are looking pretty good. The tater towers are green and the upside down tomatoes are looking good too. This Tuesday I want to put in more work at the secret garden which needs lots of weeding and more planting. I also get want to get my backyard garden in better shape (it is getting there after a lot of effort last week) and I plan to get a lot of seed planted for starts too. There is a lot of gardening to do and I am anxious to get away from this computer and get back into the garden. Oh and our bees have three supers of honey ready to extract and if we can get the extractor we will be extracting honey next Saturday!