Absurd to think that two weeks ago I sat curled between raised beds of rainbow chard, turnip rabe and carrots. I was harvesting those carrots, Mokum carrots; it seems a lifetime ago. The soil damp and rich, crumbling and falling between my fingers, giving up those babies quite contentedly. Quality control – I taste one, two, three, it’s easy to eat them. That, I remember. I harvest two hundred because, well, I’m a volunteer on a farm – in a greenhouse to be precise. This farm shares the property with a fine dining restaurant, and this restaurant needs baby Mokum carrots to serve up (with a bit of dressing) on a fence.
I once heard the vegetables served on the fence compared to heads on stakes – apparently a reminder of the vicious nature of agriculture.
We eat, eat, eat voraciously, insatiably, consumers we’re called after all.
Anyway, I harvest two hundred carrots, making sure their verdant tops are together in the same direction in a large green bin. Weigh them, place them in the cooler, record the weight and grab another green bin. Back to the soil, my favorite part of the entire job. She smells of life and plenty and beauty.
Today I am without her. Today is the first time in seven months I am not on a farm. I am home, encased in concrete walls and heat and humidity. Jamaican sunshine reigns outside, though it shines through a dirty purple haze made of Saharan dust. Jamaican breeze makes the coconut trees wave in my neighbour’s backyard. I am happy to be home and I am sad missing the soil. As I said, it is absurd that I was so many miles away just two weeks ago. This farm was in Pocantico Hills, NY 10591, exactly one thousand six hundred and six miles from my home.