There are lots of great things about our annual Farm Day: meeting both new and long-term subscribers for the first time, getting in-person feedback about what we are doing as well as hearing so many people talk about how joining our CSA has changed the way they eat and the way they feel. But the best thing is seeing all the kids enjoying a day in the country, picking berries and running around the fields.
We started our CSA in 1995, and every year we meet at least one subscriber who has been with us from the start. Twenty-one years is two full generations of children, too, and it’s great to see the new crop of kids every year as well as get to meet kids who were raised on our produce. Or, as one 8 year old told me, “I was eating your vegetables when I was still in my mom’s belly”.
Being set loose in a strawberry field is a pretty memorable experience, even for a grown-up. The berries are riper than any you will ever get in the store or even in your CSA box. And they are warm from the sun. For kids, it’s like being set free in a candy store, with none of the downsides.
There are almost never enough strawberries in our late fall field to make harvesting them worthwhile for your boxes. They are few and far between, and sometimes half of them are already moldy or bug-eaten due to the weather. But for a little kid, this makes it even more of a treasure hunt. Connecting with fresh, delicious food this way at a young age can have a powerful impact on a person’s whole life. For me, the childhood experience was picking apples straight off the tree.
A long-time subscriber told me how his young daughter loved strawberries so much after getting them in their TFF box every week this spring that she was sad when our season ended. So the next time the family was in a produce department, she asked for some berries. Just past the checkout, she grabbed one of the berries and put it in her mouth, and then almost immediately handed it back to her dad with just a bite taken out: “That’s not a strawberry”, she said.
As farmers, hearing about our customers’ enjoyment of our crops is extremely gratifying. But it’s even more power to hear, as I did from at least two people, that we have made an even bigger difference in their lives. One woman, who lived on the East Coast until five years, told me: “The box has changed the way we eat, we live and we feel — all in a positive way.”
We are extremely grateful for all the love and support we get from our subscribers. And as much as everyone seems to enjoy coming out to Farm Day, we enjoy it just as much or more.