|The Promise of a Good Season|
|Written by Jedd Kettler|
|Monday, 02 July 2012 12:08|
After a morning of too much coffee and a scattered list of unrelated tasks and errands finished, my mind was jittery, numb and disconnected as I splashed to the end of the dirt road that brings you to Stone Hollow Farm in Bakersfield. I was picking up our first CSA box of the season.
Then I saw Ken appear on the path leading from the fields. As he approached, he told the dogs to calm down.
"Hey Ken," I hollered, standing up and walking toward him. "It's been a long time."
"Sorry about that," he said, hanging and shaking his head a little. "My hands are dirty."
His hands were coated with stray pieces of straw and earth. His hair drained rainwater onto his face as he told me he'd been mulching. Normally he has a list of rainy day projects so he doesn't have to work outside in wet weather, but he had worked through that list in the previous two days of rain, he said.
"We have a wet farm," he said.
I told him about our love - as apartment dwellers on a hot third floor - for rain and gray skies. He laughed when I described Launie's glee every time the weather man apologizes for a "few bad days." Over the sound of raining hitting his shirt he said, "I don't mind the sun."
He led me through the old barn's door into a cooled room that looked like it was once the holding tank area in the days when this farm was a dairy operation. Ken has been growing organic produce on the their land for over a decade, starting small with a focus on garlic and expanding to a wide range of vegetables. They now have a 27-member CSA - including new recruits Launie and I. Melissa is the public face of the operation - manning the Stone Hollow table at the Northwest Farmer's Market - while Ken prefers to tend the fields and maintain the farm.
Ken gestured to a sturdy homemade pine box overflowing with green leaves, and told me this is where we'll be picking up our shares of the bounty. As I was getting ready to leave there was a phone call. Ken and I said a silent goodbye as he talked into the receiver. I climbed into the truck and nestled the pine box on the seat beside me. I paused to admire it. An enormous head of green leaf lettuce, a bag of salad greens, a healthy head of spinach. Bok choy leaves, carrot tops (their bright orange roots hiding below) and garlic scapes all draped high over the edge. Feeling around inside I found two summer squash and a dark green zucchini.
(Top photo by Jedd Kettler; bottom photo by Launie Kettler)