The Heart of the Farm
Naomi Jackson November 2016
for the 25th Anniversary of Spring Hill Community Farm
When we make the last turn towards the farm
we open all the windows
eager for the first smell and taste of the farm.
The gravel crunches beneath our tires as we roll to a stop,
welcomed by the best barn art in Barron county.
We pull on our mud boots, our jackets and gloves,
and stow our food in the Community House.
Then we tramp back across the gravel
to the packing shed, the heart of the farm.
Here we find Patty and Michael, whose dream
created this community that has held us,
grace-filled and well-fed, for a quarter of a century.
The shed shelters us from spring wind, summer sun, autumn rain.
In mild weather we stand there anyway, sniffing the good earth
and watching a hawk circle slowly over the valley.
We shake hands and exchange names with our harvest companions.
The names don't stick but the memories do,
drawing us back year after year.
The packing shed is where we receive instructions:
plant sage, wash carrots, weed garlic, pick beans
and if we're lucky, there will be raspberries.
When our field tasks are done we return to the shed,
and we sort, clean, count, bag, rubber-band,
tell each other stories, share recipes for difficult vegetables.
Hunger draws us out of the packing shed.
Our shared meal strengthens us for the most important part,
gathering our labor and sending it into the world.
We all line up in the shed, passing bags from one to another...
two squash, three onions, bag of carrots, bunch of herbs, handful of fresh air.
The bags are stashed in the depths of waiting cars and vans
As we drive away, we are grateful
that of all the places we could be today, we are here,
on this farm. Our farm.
read the last newsletter of the 2016 season