There I was standing in the loading dock, it was 11:00 pm and I was exhausted. I was tired from a long day at market, a long rainy day at market. My exhaustion turned to frustration quickly as I learned that there is absolutely a right and a wrong way to drive a forklift that is carrying a pallet of watermelons. As I turned the corner and headed up the ramp the watermelons tumbled and crashed down, right back at me. I stopped immediately, evaluated my situation, and counted the half cracked watermelons that now littered the loading dock ramp. I readjusted my pallet, and eyes full of tears drove the forklift into the cooler. I found a suitable spot to place the watermelons that had avoided the plummet and headed back out to pick up the ones that hadn't. I discarded some melons that were destroyed beyond eating. It would be a lie if I didn't admit that several handfuls of watermelon also made it to my mouth. What is the harm, right? I had decided that there were about eight melons that were not good enough to sell, but good enough to save. I had officially won the watermelon lottery! I packed those eight melons into my car and in the middle of the night packed a fridge full. Was it optimism? Probably. Did I really think I would be able to eat eight watermelons before they rotted? Most likely yes. Did I eat eight watermelons before they rotted? No. But, I did find out that watermelon slushies are a killer tasty treat.
This memory often flashes back at me. When someone asks for a crazy farm story, or a "plant story" as my professor coined, I often reach for this particular memory. It holds way more meaning to me than it would to most. I do believe Jenny once said "farmers get emotional about different sorts of things." As I semi-embarrass myself retelling the story I also get to reminisce on the feelings and emotions I felt. Someone can only imagine the emotions I felt as I tried to shove eight watermelons into a fridge at 1:00 am knowing that they wouldn't fit. And, more importantly knowing that I had to be up in a couple hours, back at the crime scene I had left on the farm and ready to work. This watermelon fiasco happened during my first season working under Jenny and Aaron at Twin Gardens. Their kindness, and understanding as I retold the story was one of the many reasons why I stayed, and why I continue to stay. They are people who through the last couple months have remained unshaken and stable as we embark on this new journey at the farm. Through the small handful of years that I have known the Kinney family I have been blessed with generosity, understanding, kindness and many, many laughs. I look forward to the new memories that Piscasaw Gardens brings as we grow together on this "new to us" farm.
It was not very long ago that I found myself sitting at an FFA Alumni meeting on a Monday evening after a long day of high-school. Okay, maybe it was long ago, give or take about eight years? Rich Brook had asked me to come and work on his farm that summer when school let out. And, while I had been putting coals onto my agriculture passion fire for awhile, this opportunity lit the final flame. It was my first job, and my first time harvesting vegetable crops. It was hard work, but I fell in love with farming on this very piece of property. I made memories that I will never forget, some of my favorites include racoons running wild and getting ATVs stuck in the muddy field. When I had left several years ago, as the farm faded away from growing vegetables, I continued to foster a love for growing, harvesting, and selling fresh vegetable crops. I always told myself I'll be back to this farm someday with its beautiful barn and breezy winds. So, maybe it was destiny that put me on this path back here. Somehow I was meant to be a part of the transition from Brook Farms and Twin Gardens into Piscasaw Gardens. But, whatever the greater reason is, I am forever grateful. I am grateful to the land and farm for giving me wonderful times, and to the people who amended the soil and gave me opportunities to grow like Rich and Sonja and now Jenny and Aaron.
We look forward to reconnecting with old customers and new customers alike as we grow on the farm. I for one can't wait to be back in a farmers market booth talking to my regular customers about the new recipes they tried this week with our fresh veggies. I am excited to be making bouquets for weddings and walking the fields with brides in the upcoming season. I am forever collecting memories, and laughs along the way and adding them into my own personal "plant story" catalog in the back of my brain. So, If you see me (Sarah) at a market, wandering the fields, writing you a message, an email, or somewhere else, please don't hesitate to stop and say hello, and feel free to ask me about my other "plant stories."