Be forewarned, this is a bit preachy...
Lord be praised, do you know how hard farmers work? Next time you take a big bite out of that store-bought zucchini, I hope you think about the story behind it. What about that head of garlic. Do you think it came out of the field in that white-splendored glory? Oh sh-t, no. Take it from a woman who cleaned garlic for market last summer. Garlic is one nasty looking thing before it is rubbed, peeled, and primped. The hours I spent getting that garlic ready to walk the red carpet of your local food co-op should be appreciated.
Last Saturday I was doing my farmers' market gig, and the real brains and brawn behind the market stand was helping me as usual. Farmer Paul crashed at hour six of our seven hour stint. Suddenly he looked very pale, told me he needed to sit down, and soon he was reclined on a sidewalk behind our market stand sleeping. The man was operating on about four hours of sleep, and had been for too many days to count. From planting to harvest, farmers do not sleep eight hours a night. They worry and work.
I wish I had gotten a picture, but at the time that sleep seemed so needed and pure, I just couldn't disturb it. Our food comes from men and women like my Farmer Paul who are at the high end of risk and sleeplessness a good part of the year just so my family and I can eat.
And then I could tell you about all the others--those who harvest and prepare your food for market. I do my farm gig as a second job, but for many this is their one and only way to support their families. They work in in temperatures in excess of 100 degrees on a regular basis. An 8 hour day is considered light. The farm I work for treats their workers with respect and dignity, but this is too often the exception.
In my mind, when farmers get to sleep, they sleep of the just. Most of our nation's population never see the men and women who provide the food for their tables. Without names and faces, our farmers just become the prices on those tomatoes or carrots. Take that price and just remember that what the farmer ends up putting in his or her pocket is so small, sometimes they even pay to help you make that salad.
The photos I chose for this post are not from Google images. This is the produce that I sell each Saturday. This is why Farmer Paul is sleeps on the sidewalk.
And this is just one of those quirks of nature that keep farmers going. Mother Nature does have a sense of humor.
And all the appreciative veggies eaters said, AMEN! Prairie Eydie