It is not generally advisable to stomp on your produce, unless perhaps you’re making wine. Yesterday, though, I was stepping on onions in the field and getting paid to do it…
Let me back up. I’m lucky enough to have two jobs I love, one of which is working for Evergreen’s Office of Admissions. The other I just started. Back in July, when I was looking for a second job to supplement my summer work for Evergreen, Melissa, the farm manager at school, suggested that I call the farms on the Thurston County Direct Sales Farm Map. This brochure is a resource for customers seeking local produce, milk, and meat fresh from the farm. As I’ve come to realize, Olympia is a Mecca for those interested in sustainable agriculture. So far, I’ve made a lot of connections through the PSA program, which has been a means of navigating the ocean of small-scale, alternative producers and marketers in the area.
One of the farms that returned my call was Pigman’s Organic Produce Patch. So I’ve been working there for the past two Saturdays, and it’s great so far. Much of what I do is harvesting and bunching produce, which I learned how to do while in class on the Evergreen farm. Since I already have the experience of prepping for market, I’m generally pretty confident that I’m performing these tasks correctly, and if I’m not, I know the right questions to ask. I’m so happy to be doing what I love, working close to the land to nourish and sustain people, not to mention to be getting paid to do what I’ve been studying for the past few years!
So, anyway, to get back to the onions, this past Saturday I was out in the field at Pigman’s knocking over onion tops with my feet. While I could have used a rake, using my feet was more effective and satisfying. (Good tip for gardeners: This helps the tops to die back and also protects the bulb from soaking up water in the case of a late-season rain.) Balancing on one foot and then hopping onto the other, it really felt like I was doing some kind of onion jig. I had a good time, and lucky I did the jig because it rained here last night.