Here we all are—being part of a box scheme. Eating Seasonally. Eating Locally. Buzz words that are all the rage right now in the marketing world. But during the hungry gap (April and May) there isn’t much around in the way of ‘local’ and ‘seasonal’, which makes eating this way a test of culinary abstinence for the purists. Relatively speaking May is gourmet celibacy on the vegetable front. So in a supermarket culture which gives consumers what they want, when they want (and when do they want it? NOW!) seasonal eating truly goes against the grain. Fine if you love spring greens, spinach, salad and asparagus but it’s the one time in the year where we rely on further afield for variety. And then there is all the other efforts that we have to go to. Eating our way through seasonal gluts. Eating what is harvestable and inventing 101 things to do with a courgette.
But it’s not just the getting of a box that can seem bonkers at times. Running a box scheme and growing organically can also leave you wondering about the madness in your method. Like...... why don’t they invent sprays to get rid of all these weeds?.......Doh! Or why don’t they invent something that could wipe out all the pests that leave holes in the veg?......Doh! Or how can we compete with the supermarkets who can fly in veg packed by pickers that are paid but a penny a day and we bet they can work so much faster?......Doh! And why oh why oh why HASN’T IT RAINED LATELY??
SO WHY ON EARTH?????
Well...... They may just be boxes with vegetables in them but....perhaps we do it because absence makes the heart grow fonder? Because pining for the first new potatoes and the first ripe tomato makes veg a real treat? Or because freshly picked veg tastes so much better? And maybe too much consumer choice is just bemusing, so when faced with the shelves we just buy the same old carrots and broccoli and in the end stifle our edible adventures? And perhaps being surprised by the seasons in our box inspires us to unexpected and more varied culinary delights?
And perhaps because we know that Organic is not a ‘lifestyle product choice’ but a soil centred system of farming that is born from the ecological idea that healthy soil produces healthy plants, animals and people. Because there is more life in one tablespoon of healthy soil than there is people on the planet. Because while soil microbes don’t have the same cute factor as kittens their right to exist should be guarded. And because we don’t buy the belief that when biodiversity and wildlife isn’t ‘economic’—that we have the right to wipe it from the face of this bright jewel planet we call Earth. Because we know that ultimately (in a strictly scientific, non hippy way) that all things are interconnected and that soil life is the life on which ours sustainably depends.
And perhaps we support local produce because though it may be cheaper to produce food elsewhere we know the true cost to the environment and want fewer food miles, lower carbon emissions and less packaging but do want local skilled jobs and real production. Perhaps community does mean more than convenience. And co-operation and support feels more empowering than cut throat competition which ultimately only favours the few.
And perhaps we keep on farming and growing because though the peasant life will always be a credit crunch we have job satisfaction in a worth while craft. Because feeding people is easy and fun when you have fresh air and some exercise. Because ultimately it all depends on what we value - Food. The stuff that keeps us alive. We are truly grateful for it. And for your support. For all of the above. Thanks for being part of it. From all of us at the farm x Ps. So,........who’s up for some rain dancing?.......Or a chain gang queue with buckets of water? Then we’ll dance!