The pickup for last batch of locally grown organic veggies in our community shared agriculture program is on the farm north of town. We meet Marcus & Esther to go check it out. It’s the first time I’ve ever witnessed the source of a significant portion of my diet.
It becomes instantly obvious to me what a rube I am in this environment. Totally clueless. I can identify a pumpkin, and that’s about it. We’re invited to harvest what we can from the fields, so I set about examining the plants. Peppers, tomatoes, melons (no idea what kind), radishes, onions, and cabbage reveal themselves. Carrots. Some things remain a mystery, like heavy yellow tomato-like things. The most exiting exploration is a tall, brown-stemmed plant with spiny red fruits. I find a dried fruit, break in into thirds, and inside each third discover a beautiful brown bean. I would never have guessed. They turn out to be mildly toxic Castor beans, but that doesn’t detract from the discovery.
It’s hard to convey what a primal experience this was. Eating is a matter of everyday survival, yet I know next to nothing about where the food I eat originates. Pulling an onion out of the ground is like completing a long-broken circle.