Thankfully we’ve seen much better weather since we last wrote! It was overcast with no threat of rain, so we had a larger crowd at this veggie stand as opposed to the last. We offered produce not only from LaFarm, the Easton Urban Farm, Crayola, and Safe Harbor as usual, but we also had a few on-site donations, the first of the season. Sophia harvested several cucumbers on behalf of a community gardener at one of the plots at 10th and Pine, and stand newcomer Karen gave us several shopping bags full of oregano, parsley, and lemon balm (which is supposedly very good in tea, especially when mixed with mint). They were the first on-site stand donations that we’ve seen this season, which was gratifying and exciting to see. We hope that we’ll see more!
Tomato season is now officially in full force– we had roughly five or more bins worth of both cherry and large tomatoes, both from LaFarm and the Urban Farm. It took a semi-exhaustive harvest to get them all there that Lisa compared to spelunking– crouching between rows of semi-sprawling tomato plants, trying to reach through the dense tangle of branches. We consistently got our hands covered in tomato sap, but all of the time spent harvesting was well worth it– we had plenty for the veggie stand, so much so that we had plenty of leftovers to donate to the Neighborhood Center at the end of the night in spite of people’s enthusiasm to see tomatoes available.
We’ve also changed a few things since the last stand– based on our visitors’ understandably low enthusiasm for filling out our surveys, we didn’t distribute any this week, but instead made the main focus of our information table about asking people for their recipes/pictures of their cooking for the cookbook that we want to compile (hopefully to be completed by the end of the summer, depending on how many recipes we get). We left mostly blank sheets of paper on the table for this purpose, for people to either fill out on at the stand if they felt really inspired (like one of our volunteers, Eve, did last night) or to take home to fill out and give back to us later. Already, we had one person hand us a recipe that she had filled out for us a week ago, and many more people (at least ten!) picked up sheets to fill out and give back to us.
Being the designated person to run the info table this week, I noticed how much lighter the atmosphere felt when I talked to people about recipes instead of surveys. I think that also from the standpoint of community ownership in this project that this is a really encouraging project to collaborate on. I’m personally excited see what recipes we’ll receive in the weeks to come, and how much more we all can learn about how to prepare (and then talk about preparing) vegetables.
Besides the emphasis on recipes for this week, we also had signup sheets on the info table for people to volunteer for helping set up the stand, which I would talk about if people asked me about it. Since most of our potential student volunteers are starting to go home, it would be great to get additional support from new volunteers. We haven’t gotten any signups yet, but we’ll see what happens in the next few weeks. We’re also continuing to raffle off cooking supplies (we’ll be giving everything away on our final veggie stand of the year, September 13th) and to have weekly stand activities– this week, Miranda put together face- and banner-painting. Several people lingered, and people talked to us about their cooking, all of which made this week’s veggie stand a really enjoyable one.