From the Suburban Farm: 7/18

Up and down, this farm thing seems to be; after all, it is the nature of the enterprise. We are at the peak of summer right now, with harvest and weeding and seeding hitting full throttle. Give it a couple months, though, and our main season transitions first into a smaller-volume fall season and then into winter; a repose for the farm, for ourselves, and for our bodies.

Admittedly, it seems absurd to be writing of winter on a 95 degree day. It probably is; yesterday was also in the 90’s, and our crew struggled. One girl, picking cucumbers, had her vision close in on her. Our boss took over for her until lunch while she sat and drank water. Picking zuchinni, the older guy I work with often walked over, slicing cucumber into our hand for us. One of my favorite volunteers brought us an assortment of iced teas and coffees.


They call this farm community-supported agriculture, but I have begun to see the farm as a practitioner of community-supportive agriculture. I feel that the farm taken as a whole–from the executive director down to the newest volunteers–are truly drawing our region together, bit by bit.


And it seems to begin with the seven of us, toiling every day to make this organic farm work. The vegetables we grow make people happy and healthy, the work that we do makes us strong and funny, and we get to donate the excess to the hungry (1500 pounds of cabbage this past week).


Us seven begin to support one another, both in work and spirit. One of us take a break before she passes out, and I listen to my coworker’s take on his struggling marriage. And then he slices me a cucumber, one of thousands we’ve harvested this month.


The cukes have been coming in multitudes–in beautiful, plentiful multitudes. I never really liked cucumber until I had them here, farm cucumbers. A crunchier skin and inner, water-swollen, helped along by the heat, eaten whole like cylindrical early apples, perfect for the dog days. Pepinos, in spanish. Yep–el año de los pepinos.

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Jason Halm

Jason currently works on a farm in the west suburbs, and has worked in restoration, restaurants, and the tourism industry. Right now, his interests include holistic health (on both a personal and ecosystem level), getting a little better in the kitchen (sauerkraut will come), and enjoying the vast wild, human and otherwise, of Chicago.

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