Friday, 12 July 2013

First Lettuce

We arrived at the old plot after a bout of rainy weather and not only did we have far fewer weeds than our neighbours, we had a few fledgling tomatoes…and a few basil plants with four or five storeys of leaves…and some healthy lettuce.  I took out the video camera and began filming but only got as far as a couple of seconds of XB telling me he was still unimpressed with the progress, as he dug up weeds around the carrot patch, when the battery died.  I wanted to get a shot of us in our first harvest, but I’ll just have to remember the not overwhelming but genuine satisfaction it brought to pick the leaves in the semi-darkness.  

There was a lot to choose from; we barely made a dent in it.  I wondered though, if we were selling it, how perfect would it have to look?  How much would we have to grow to make money?  How do you wrestle for market share, when he majority of the population wants cheap food and doesn't care about pesticides as long as Health Canada hasn't banned them, and the few who want high quality produce have plenty of savvy, small-scale farmers with clever farm names to choose from?

We are slowly approaching that leap from the casual excitement for the fact that anything has produced to the more preoccupied condition of wondering how to take the produce that has produced because it had to, and make it marketable to a public that expects organic local food to be charming and wholesome and sure of itself.  There is pressure on farmers, especially those who show their faces and whose products end up on a table in a market, the famer and the product exposed to the browsing public. 

I have years of open stage experience, where I’ve stood up and played my own songs to strangers.  I’ve had nights where people have given me genuine compliments and others where the crowd has smiled and clapped and looked at me uncomfortably.   I expect selling vegetables has some parallels.