We New England vegetable farmers don't have a lot of free hours in the spring. But spring is a green lively time, perfect for a romantic farmer date. This time of year, it just depends on how a farmer defines a date.
An Exciting New Place. Last year, for example, my farmer fellow and I went over to Walker Farm in Dummerston, Vermont to pick up a farm order for our big spring date. It had been a while since we'd been over in that neck of the woods, and we had never been to Walker Farm before. We had a fine time holding hands in the pick-up truck and commenting on the houses and little shops and barns and fields and critters along the way. Then, at the farm, we got to pick up our cover crop seed and our seed potatoes, and look over everybody else's interesting bags of seeds and taters. Then we drove home again, pleased, holding hands.
Cheerful Companions. This year, our spring date was even better. Of course, my fellow farmer is wonderfully cheerful by nature, always ready to go on a farmer date, but we also found more good cheer in the world. We went to Walker Farm again, and this time we wandered around the labyrinth of greenhouses for a little fun. We met a cheerful man wheeling flats of soil-filled pots into a greenhouse, and that cheerful man led us to another cheerful man, by way of many chickens, some of who were cheerfully clucking around in the hen yard and others of whom were even more cheerfully clucking around out of the hen yard.
Dressing Up. The second cheerful man came back to help us load up our bags of soybean meal fertilizer for our hayfields, which was very kind of him, since it was only 12 fifty pound bags and not 200, for example. We got to chat with him a bit about our respective farms, and then we loaded up our new row cover, and then my fellow farmer found one last thing on our order. It was a new hat, perfect for shading a farmer's sparkling eyes and delicate skin all summer. My fellow put his new hat right on. It is a fetching hat indeed, and he did look fine.
Great Food. We liked our romantic excursion so much this year that we decided to have another spring date. This time we went over to Ideal Compost in Peterborough, to buy our soil mix. On the way, I was glad we had remembered to pack some snacks, because we were picking up our soil mix at lunchtime. We enjoyed some apples and peanut butter, along with popcorn, none of which we had labored to plant, weed, or harvest on our farm. It was positively decadent, that snack.
Beautiful Surroundings. As we got closer, my fellow pointed out to me the road that looks exactly like the road that we wanted, and the river that looks exactly like the river we wanted. That look-alike road and river is where he got lost last year. This year we didin't get lost, though I suppose, depending on a farmer's temperament, it might be nice to get a little lost on a date. I, however, am the type of farmer who does not like to get lost on a date, and I was glad my fellow farmer and I found the right scenic road and the right pretty river.
A Puppy. And there, at our date destination, we discovered one of the most lovely things that can happen on a farmer date: a puppy! The nice soil mix people have a 12 week old Australian Shepherd mix puppy, and that puppy was absolutely delighted to see us. He jumped, wiggled, wagged, licked our hands and faces, brought us leaves, and dug us holes. He was a most marvelous puppy, and really, what more could a farmer ask for in the way of a satisfying spring-time date?
Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News, Apr 12 - Apr 18, 2017