Greetings from Against the Grain and welcome to the seventh week of the CSA! Just like past weeks, the customization period begins once this notification lands in your inbox (which should be around noon on Friday) and will end at 11:59pm on Sunday, July 5th. Just as a reminder, if you'd like to change pick up locations for the share that is currently open for customization, please email Harvie support to request that change. Always feel free to double check with Holly to make sure the change was made. It is so important to the farm that CSA members have flexibility in their pick up location.
We continue with our apprenticeship profiles this week, in an effort to more deeply connect you, our CSA members, with the hands who grow the food that you enjoy in your box each week. This week's profile is written by M Mueller and highlights Robert Perez...
How does someone who is an artist, chef, former Army sergeant, and photographer find his way to Against the Grain Farm? "What took me here? I just took a chance!" says Robert Perez, this week's celebrated apprentice.
We are glad he did! Robert is blessed with a variety of skills. Machine maintenance, high cookery, the guitar, his portfolio of photographs on the farm--but blessed even more, perhaps, by a sense of the spirituality in this new work of his--farming.
Knowing that the work done in the cold and wet Spring to broadfork the soil, to ready it to receive carrot seed, then flaming the beds, thinning the shoots, weeding the rows, until finally there is a harvest of tender young carrots in his hand, ready to eat, he feels the value of the work he does.
Besides vegetable production, Robert also looks after our pigs daily with much love and care. The feed is always full, water is available and their health duly noted.
Robert also has a place in his heart for the world of machinery. In particular he is attracted to the regularity of its needs and the perfection of its good adjustment, when a machine is "in tune."
Then again, when he prepares food, he meets the world of what people take into themselves. Almost every Friday, Robert cooks a midday meal for everyone on the farm. Good tastes in a simple presentation is his culinary ethic. Not only does he prepare farm food, he also brings the sophistication of high taste to the meals--simple condiments set off nicely together, often with a nod toward the diverse tastes of Miami, Fl, where he was raised up. And he loves comfort foods, too--southern style cooking: a ribeye, mashed potatoes and asparagus cooked perfectly.
His love for cooking joins with his love of people. "It's all about 'When skill meets service,'" he says; "where something you can do meets the needs of another. I feel it in the silence when people have started eating the food I cooked. And I like it when others are interested in making their food taste better, cooking in different ways. I suggest different combinations. I like teaching!"
As for his relation to the land here on ATG, he likens the thriving flora and humid mountains to that of Puerto Rico, where he has visited, and feels a common spirit in the air.
When asked what his imagination is of the people who eat the fruits of his labors, this good food he helps to grow? "It shouldn't have to be special," he says. "It should be every day. All the time. People eating good food."
We feel fortunate that he is here: We hold him up and honor him for being a steady and true worker and friend since the day he arrived on the farm.