When I leave the market every Saturday my car is loaded with delicious fruits and vegetables from our growers. Because of this bounty, I stopped planting vegetables in my garden many years ago.
Actually, truth be told, that is not the real reason I stopped growing vegetables. It is just the story that I tell people. If I were to be perfectly honest, I would have to admit that while I love planting and tending vegetable plants, in the end I do not have the patience to do the harvesting. Picking veggies is hard, tedious work. I have one raspberry plant in my backyard and I have never picked any of its berries. I consider them an offering to the wildlife in my yard which allows me to feel better about not making the effort to pick them off of their thorny vines.
This year I planted some green beans because I thought the little boys across the street who love to come to my garden would enjoy picking them. As it happens, they were nowhere to be found when the beans matured and I had to pick them myself. It was hot outside and the leaves of green beans are kind of scratchy and it was tedious and I was very grumpy. I was relieved when I got to the last few beans that were ready to be picked.
After taking my little harvest into the house, I started thinking about the boxes and crates of beans, cherry tomatoes, squash, and other produce that our farmers bring to market every week. It made me think of a conversation I had with one of our farmers where they told me about the person who picks their cherry tomatoes. That is her whole job. She picks cherry tomatoes. All day!
I’d like to say to this person, and all of the many others who tend and harvest the crops brought to the market – THANK YOU! You are amazing and I appreciate that you are willing and able to do the work that I cannot bring myself to do. I appreciate that you stand out in the hot sun, doing back-breaking work to bring flats and flats of strawberries, blackberries and blueberries to market so that I can enjoy them with my family.
Thank you for searching through rows and rows of prickly squash plants so that I may enjoy succulent tender zucchinis. And thank you for your gentle hands when you pluck delicate peaches and pears from their branches.
This is a shout out to all of the people we never see who make it possible for us to enjoy the bounty of our local harvest. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Market Master, Beaverton Farmers Market