What the? Where did the last month go? Its all a blur of strawberries, beans, onions, and dirt. Needless to say, we are not growing computers with wireless internet, so I have not exactly had a lot of access to upload my thoughts and pics.

So what the heck have I been doing?

Every day I step into my new office…aka…Joseph Fields Farm on River Rd (much roomier than the cubicles and shared office spaces I had gotten used to). My co-workers are all splitting up into their individual tasks for the morning: picking, packing, planting, weeding, watering and well… the list could go on infinitely. The staff is a mix of local Johns Islanders, Mexicans, and Guatemalans plus myself and two others that are directly involved in selling to chefs. Most people have a pretty regular schedule and know their jobs when they arrive, with the biggest factor being what to harvest, which field, and with whom.

Joseph Fields, my new boss.

At some point I get been pulled into one of the above listed jobs…

When I work with the field workers, I pick first thing in the morning then wash and pack the produce for one of seven markets and dozens of clients. Half of my thoughts are lost on how to translate my conversation into Spanish and the other half are focused on mastering the art of quick picking. What exactly am I picking, you wonder? Well, what is in season of course 🙂 Right now that is peas, strawberries, all kinds of greens, turnips, carrots, onions, and broccoli.

As the weeks progress I find myself harvesting specialty items on my own…quietly working my way down the field listening to the sounds of the farm. Last week I found myself surrounded with rows of English peas, cheering on ladybugs as they hunted aphids…the glory of organic farming!

When I am not picking, I am shadowing the rest of the crew in various jobs. So far I have: planted potatoes, weeded, helped lay plastic and irrigation line (tractor attachment to the right), shelled peas, learned a little arc welding, built a play table for the goats, painted some signs, worked the farmers markets, gone on deliveries, and given quick tutorials on the farming equipment. Everyday is different from the previous, which makes my weeks pass quickly.

The one constant in my days is the animals. Since I was gravitating towards them every morning anyways, I have inherited critter duty. I could spend all day feeding peas to the chicks, scratching behind the ears of my favorite three-legged goat(left), and trying to convince the lone friendly rooster “Roy” to let me pick him up.

The hardest part would be getting into the laying coop…oh how those roosters (fighting cocks, really) protect their ladies. Sweet jesus, they are mean. Joseph said he picked two varieties that are known to fearlessly fight to the death against ANY predator. We are talking lethal, bloody thirsty, fighting machines. Okay, so maybe I am over exaggerating, but they are nasty little birds. Regardless, just imagine stepping into a five by ten room and having two 5 pound flying, spur happy, pecking birds coming at your legs and head simultaneously. Meanwhile, you are simply trying to provide them food and water (how predatory of me). Joseph confidently strides in with a one by one tomato stake and pushes these birds around with finesse. Meanwhile, if they see me coming near the door, they will rush it, ready to attack.

Doesn’t he just look mean?

Last week, I opened the door only to have one fly straight at my head and escape. I slammed the coop door before the rest followed and with no defense, I had no choice but to run. Yes, I ran…all the way to the house. And that little punk chased me (they are really fast by the way) all the while I was screaming for Joseph like a five year old yells for her father. I stopped running when I heard the sound of chickens fighting and turned to see Roy, my friendly rooster, defending my honor! I was so proud of my little voice-cracking, outcast, little bird friend. He continued to protect me while Joseph and his wife corralled the nasty one back into the coop. Since then, I have not attempted to re-enter the coop… I will leave that to Joseph. Instead I spoil Roy, the chicks, and my lovely goats.

Roy, my hero, stands guard in front of the coop.
(I think he is quite handsome.)

Written by Nikki