For about four years now we’ve been subscribing to an organic produce co-op that we love. At times we’ve needed to take a break for various reasons, but I always come back to the box. The amount you get can be overwhelming or amazing for how much you are paying. I’ve tasted some of the best carrots, peaches, oranges, apples, pears, tomatoes and many other vegetables of my life from these boxes. I love knowing that we are helping to support small California farmers as well. All in all it is a total win-win situation for everyone.
In our weekly newsletters we’ve heard great news about how the farms are doing, how their workers are doing and what all this organic produce means for our bodies and the environment. So, when there was a little blip in there about spring farm tours coming up, I was quick to try and get us a spot. Initially, we were going to try and get something together with our homeschool group, but it was not going to work out for everyone in the group so we decided to go as individuals on separate tours they were offering the public.
We had so much fun on our tour, especially Ethan, my wannabe farmer and tractor driver. The farmers were so great about me with my three littles, helping to usher them along, pick them up when their legs got weary and give them tangible ways to connect to what was going on. I really loved Farmer Kyle of KMK farms and how he let Ethan pick produce straight from his fields and play in a pile of “black gold” compost. Or was Uncle Vern my favorite when he picked Ethan up and put him on his shoulders as we hiked through his beautiful orchards pointing out every tractor to him along the way and not complaining at all about his excited screams and squeals over them right in his ears? Yeah, I’d say we got to know our farmers pretty well that day.
We had a lovely lunch (all full of yummy stuff we can get through the co-op, of course) in the backyard of “Uncle Vern” as well. He sort of heads up this whole idea, grows the amazing stone fruit every year and writes the newsletter every week. He even told Jillian she could get married back there when she grows up, ha.
There was a great moment in his field where he asked if we wanted a Sunday School lesson. No one was offended, or if they did they didn’t speak up and so he expanded tangibly on the vine and branches verses Jesus speaks in the New Testament, showing it in action in his orchard from grafting, to humbling branches so they bring forth fruit the following year. So much of the Bible is in these practical stories for common labor skills that we are so far removed from our current modern society. It is nice to see it in person and still remaining true.
Uncle Vern was hoping that some baby chicks that become the organic chicken you can purchase as an add-on through the co-op would be there in time for our tour, but it didn’t work out that way, unfortunately. We did get to hear about the chickens though and I thought it was really interesting that when they switched to organic farming, they were really afraid of not being able to use antibiotics and a particular chicken disease. They only thing different from the conventional chickens was the organic, non-GMO feed. Those chickens never got sick, even without the antibiotics. I really think that speaks volumes!
We really loved the tour of Organic Pastures where we buy our raw milk too. We got to go on a big tractor ride where we saw truly happy California cows in lush alfalfa fields grazing away. They have an amazing operation there.
My kids were all such troopers even though it was hot and there was quite a bit of walking around in areas that were not navigable by stroller and sometimes hard for little legs as well.