Thursday, October 8, 2009

Seeds and earth do not a farmer make

Over the years, I've had a list of "dream" jobs that I would pursue if I had my life to live over again — airline pilot, National Transportation Safety Board investigator, and detective among them. But there's another one that, while in theory is something it's not too late for me to do, I've had to accept that it is as improbable as the others, and that's being a farmer.

Why farming? I love the outdoors, hard physical labor, early-to-bed-and-early-to-rise hours, and the thought of providing such a basic and essential commodity as food.

One summer I volunteered at Casey Farm, a historical farm in Saunderstown, R.I., that promotes community-supported agriculture. The caretakers once let me hop onto a tractor and plow a field. I was in heaven that afternoon.

So why couldn't I be a farmer, even on a small scale?

Because I can't grow ANYTHING! This spring I planted squash, lettuce and carrots. The squash was a no-show, the lettuce took what seemed like an eternity to mature and in the end provided all of two salads, and the carrots, well, you can see for yourselves:

Yes, I waited all summer for these! I realize it was a bad year in New England for a lot of crops, because of all the rain early on, but still. Seriously, how hard can it be to grow a few vegetables? And now it's all coming back to me: the number of houseplants I've killed in pretty short order over the years, the wildflowers I planted one year that bloomed beautifully for a few short weeks, never to be seen again.

I just don't have a green thumb, so I'm officially throwing in the towel. Which is too bad, because the thought of plucking fresh fruits and vegetables right from the backyard is pretty appealing to me. Fresh is so much better. But farmstands and the supermarket produce aisle are so much easier.

I would like to take this opportunity, though, to salute local farmers everywhere: Thank you. Without you, I would definitely starve.

Maybe I could try my hand at dairy farming. I've always liked cows ...


    Hey, those carrots look just like the ones I grew this year!

  2. Perhaps we could have a competition, I grew potatoes for John when he was little, they were referred to , by my New Hampshire cousins as "cherry potatoes" long before they became popular at the grocery store as baby potatoes.