My fourth week on the farm was a rough one. Not sure why, exactly. Could have been the crappy weather, or it might have been our new friend the Brown Frown: seaweed. It gets bad this time of year and makes dragging really rough. Berg went out on Monday afternoon and had a hard time getting crates up since the drag just got filled with the stuff. We were pulling it out of the cull all week.
We did get out on the tide twice and had a killer day on Tuesday (meaning, we hand-picked more than 20 crates of oysters before the tide came up). But then Wednesday, A2 went home sick; Thursday was frigid plus I was exhausted and at one point tripped with a crate in my hands and landed face down in the crate. Not fun. I can add 8 more bruises and a sore neck to my list of injuries thanks to that one. Yesterday was better for morale but we still dealt with crappy weather. A trip to Tsang’s (Duxbury’s only Chinese restaurant where lunch portions are heaping and cheap) for lunch and a few cold Buds at the end of the day helped make up for it all.
I think Thursday was officially my worst day on the farm. Being comfortable and warm is by far my biggest challenge. If I can get warm, the day flies and we have a blast. But Thursday’s weather was impossible to feel good in. It was that perfect New England combo of cold, rainy, windy spring weather that goes right through you. Paired with my exhaustion, it made for a miserable day. As Billy keeps saying, it’ll get better. He swears.
On top of it all, I’m staring at oysters all day! Do you know how many oysters we look at daily? I might count one day. It’s enough to drive any sane person bananas. I’m starting to go ‘ster crazy… ba-dum-bump. Seriously, though, all we do is come up with ways to make each other laugh. We’ve got “I’m on a Boat” by the SNL guys on repeat throughout the week and A2 and I have been finding new ways to annoy each other. He’s become like the little brother I never asked for. But in a good way.
Thursday night, I had dinner with Greg Reeves, the chef at Green Street Grill. We ate at Sportello (for my Improper column) and afterwards, went down to Drink for a cocktail. Greg, I found out, majored in environmental science and minored in oceanography at UNH so we had a really cool chat about the weather. He was teaching me a little bit about the wind and pressure systems and this really great discussion came down to how closely the weather is tied to our food. In fact, so many of my conversations these days come back to where our food comes from. From the potatoes that went into my gnocchi last night to the coffee beans we brewed this morning, every ingredient passes through the hands of a laborer at some point. Every ingredient has a Brown Frown. Everything is harvested, then sorted, cleaned up, processed, and neatly packaged to be sent out into the world. Hours upon hours, days upon days; it takes so much time and energy to get one simple ingredient from the farm to your table. It’s more work than I ever imagined until I did it myself. And I’m dealing with a high-end product. Imagine trying to do this project with something as everyday as potatoes? I’m finally understanding how far removed I’ve been from the food that I eat. Just four weeks in and I’ve developed a whole new appreciation and fascination for how this country is fed.
But I’m still at the beginning and settling in. I’m sure the year will be full of discussions like these. And probably full of crappy days, too. One day in four weeks? All in all, that ain’t so bad.