A trip afield

A trip afield

We took our annual youth farmer field trip on Friday-- the first time I've been around to join in.  Jen finds a different farm to visit most years, as it's a difficult time for farmers to give up an entire morning for a tour.  A couple years ago the crew went to Open Oak Farm in Sweet Home, where Adaptive Seeds operates its breeding programs.  This year, we drove to Cottage Grove to tour Branch Road Farm with owner Andy, as well as FOOD for Lane County's Grassroots Garden in Eugene.

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Plants to the people

Plants to the people

I had to wait a couple days to write about the plant sale, and I'm glad I did.  People keep asking me how it went, and I've narrowed down my telling to a few key details: the weather cooperated for the morning with sunshine and wind, an impressive amount of people came out considering the dismal weather forecast, there were the perfect amount of people helping out throughout the day, and we ended up breaking our sales record by the end of it all.  We've gotten it to run as smoothly as possible, people gave us great feedback about the plants, and I was personally quite happy to be healthy and have a voice, unlike last year.

That's the short story, and I'm not going to drag into the long story here.  Instead, I'm imagining how all those baby plants are doing in their new homes. 

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Behind the plant sale scenes

Behind the plant sale scenes

This weekend has been approaching, steadily in the background, all season.  As I've pruned fruit trees, seeded veggies for the farm, transplanted 150-foot beds of onions and made batch after batch of potting soil, I've felt it getting closer.  The anticipation felt light and abstract in early February, when we had a series of seeding parties with Grassroots volunteers.  Lettuce and chard seeds were dropped carefully into six-pack trays, covered with soil, and arranged on our nursery benches to germinate.  As the weeks passed, I got to watch them grow as I passed through the nursery with a sprayer hose every day.  When the nursery filled up, we moved the cold-hardy seedlings next door to the overflow greenhouse, and kept seeding more and more.  I spent days with interns and volunteers thinning and pricking out the trays to make sure every six pack was full, and every plant had the space it needed.  Soon after that process, we started labelling each little pot with a white tag to identify its species and variety.  The plants grew slowly at first in this cold spring.  We managed the greenhouse doors carefully to keep them as warm as possible, and just a week or two ago, they finally popped.  They're beautiful.  They're ready for the annual Spring Plant Sale tomorrow.

And the forecast calls for 20-30 mile per hour winds and an inch of rain.

Oh, well.  At least we got to enjoy the sunshine today while it lasted.

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