We’ll be back at market this week for the first time since October. This is the longest break we’ve taken in several years, and I’m excited to get back into the rhythm. We’re not quite up to the production levels that are needed for a proper market table but there’s some good stuff coming in and I can’t help myself, it’s time to get going!
I’m going to harvest some nice bok choy that overwintered in the hoophouse, along with little gem head lettuces and a hearty greens mix made of the Tokyo Bekana, kale and mizuna blend that has sustained us through the winter. There’s mustard and pea shoots outside that will make a nice stir fry blend, along with collards, kale, leeks, and a few cabbages.
As we move into the latter part of the winter, we are both grateful for the past efforts that have provided us with bounty today, and looking forward to the future harvests that we intend with our sowings each week. These cycles of effort and gratitude are the sustaining force of our farm, like the waves of the ocean in constant rise and fall.
We develop habits over the years, and these habits guide our actions through each day, summing up the lives that we lead. Monday has become my town day, whether I’m vending at market or not. It’s been fun this winter to go to town and visit with people without the anchor point of my market table. The flexibility was an oddity that I enjoyed, though I am looking forward to the return of routine and habit.
I love to harvest, pack and sell our wares, offering them to community along with the joy of interaction. There are deep bonds that are formed through exchange of nourishment for economic sustenance. The deep responsibility of producing for others is the Farmer’s Contract, a recognition of the sacredness of food and the energy that it creates.
When we send food or cannabis out into the world, we want it to have been treated with joy and care, and to communicate this to whomever receives the bounty. We want to interact with the people who will take home our goods, to share in engagement and the necessity of human interaction. The farmers market has proved an important mainstay for many of us during this time of pandemic, an opportunity to connect and enjoy shared company.
We’ve all experienced positive feedback loops of good energy. Watching a concert and seeing the band hit a certain groove that the whole crowd rolls with, or the excitement of gathering after a long absence. Good feeling begets good feeling, a cycle of potential that can be fed in many ways.
Grandpa always said “let us be happy in our work”, and this is an affirmation that we hold with joy and intention. From the preparing of the beds to the sowing of the seeds to the tending, harvesting and marketing, our mission is to suffuse good energy into the plant miracles that we have the honor to steward.
It’s so easy to take for granted the magic of the seed. This plant entity; durable, dormant, holding potential while awaiting the right conditions to spring into action. To farm or garden is to bear witness to the alchemy of growth, a deep honor and calling that draws us back to begin anew in constant, interlocking cycles.
We say things like “hope springs eternal” to try to articulate the depth of the connection between humans and plants. It’s something deeper than conscious thought, a manic obsession that holds great potential and also great peril. We struggle to recognize and be aware of the sacredness of the relationship, yet we are driven by it nonetheless. It gets into the blood and becomes one of the main impetus for life.
The farming obsession has led us into bright, shining places of actuated community and healthful land practices, and it has led into the deep darkness of CAFO meat and overproduction of useless commodities that get forced into the food system by bad government practices.
Like all things in life, balance is key to good farming. An imbalanced focus on economics has resulted in impoverishment of land, animal and human spirit. Government systems should be used at all times to foster balance, evaluate impact and recalibrate toward further balance.
Tending and stewarding is a religion unto itself, based in the cycles of the seasons and flowering into the weaving of a tapestry of human community. We tend to the land, and to each other, articulating our love and joy, as well as the inevitability of struggle. We rejoice in the good times and we share the load of the hard times. As always, much love and great success to you on your journey!
Make sure to check out: happydayfarmscsa.com
Casey O'Neill co-operates HappyDay Farms, a micro-diversified farm in northern Mendocino County, California. His family raises two acres of Sun+Earth and DEMPure Certified vegetables, poultry and medical cannabis in a small-farm setting while working towards sustainability. Casey is stoked about sharing food, medicine and cultivation techniques with others. He is passionate about representing small farmers and works to support Mendocino County policy-makers in crafting sensible regulations. Casey also serves on the board of Sun+Earth Certified. You can find his radio show podcast at HappyDay Farms - Farm and Reefer Report on iTunes or Soundcloud. You can also find out more about HappyDay Farms here: http://www.happydayfarmscsa.com, on Instagram @happydayfarms and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/casey.oneill.395/ or https://www.facebook.com/happydayfarmscsa/