Whoever said that many hands make light work probably didn’t work on a farm. Farm work is never “light” and is, at this time of year, always sweaty. What many hands DO help with, however, is finally getting somewhat on top of our endless To Do list! With Theda away this week and a To Do list that fills our giant white board, the interns and I gladly accepted a multitude of helping hands from Saugatuck Congregational Church. 19 youth and 5 adults came all the way up from Connecticut for two full days on the farm, donating nearly 240 hours of labor to our cause.

With their help we weeded, prepped beds, seeded a plot of turnips, mulched cabbages, weeded, spruced up and mulched the hedgerow, planted beans, weeded, trellised and suckered tomatoes, harvested peas, mulched paths and tunnel sides, weeded, cleared out the greenhouse, planted summer squash, and weeded.

Despite all the weeding and hot, sunny weather, they kept up an amazing attitude, asked thoughtful questions, and supported one another. It was also observed that farm work apparently helps you become more “vascular.” Perhaps we should be doing more volunteer recruiting at gyms. Thank you all for your hard work and we certainly hope to see you next year!

In other news, this past week we sent out well over 50 lbs of peas. We have had to alert each group of gleaners to pick carefully after discovering a small bird nest within the pea jungle. While no mama bird has ever been spotted coming or going from the tunnel, today’s egg inspection revealed that the nest is indeed being tended to! We are eager to see what type of birds we have. My bet is Song Sparrows.

On Friday we sent out our first round of 10 flower bouquets to Morning Glory Natural Foods, where they are offered in exchange for donations. This year we will also be partnering with the MOFGA store to display our bouquets. Our pick-your-own bouquet station will be set up at the farm likely within the next week! We also had two new young volunteers, Emory and Elena, join us on Friday. They jumped right in to help us glean herbs with their dad Alex, and picked our biggest harvest of herbs yet! We hope to see you three again soon.

We debated over what our end-of-the-week potluck theme should be. Leading up to July 4th weekend and with an overwhelming amount of political news to process this past week, we felt it was a good moment to focus on something about our homeland that we cherish and want to share with one another.

Sophia, hailing from Florida, brewed up some peach iced tea to share along with a delicious cucumber yogurt dip that reminds her of watching American football. Claire made an “as American as” apple crisp, also noting that Maine (her home state) is well-known for apples. Diane, also a native Mainer, brought Cape Cod potato chips, which remind her of growing up eating sandwiches from Amato’s. I made a New potato, Pea, and Red onion (NPR) salad to celebrate having free access to quality public radio, along with blueberry-lemon mocktails to represent the wild blueberries growing along the acidic rivers of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, my favorite place in the world and the largest remaining example of the Atlantic coastal pine barrens ecosystem.

Finally, with barely any rain in the forecast and the grass starting to go brown already, I have ongoing gratitude for our new well. As a plus side to this lack of rain, the lawn will be perfect for sitting on during our upcoming Rise Up Singing benefit concert this Saturday! We hope to see you there.

— Carrie