Every year at this time we take a trip down to Mexico. It’s our one real vacation each year and one of the few times I can capture Dave’s attention as it’s not taken up with greenhouses, tractors, house repairs, or farming. Although even in Mexico, I don’t get all of it. Because as well as letting us escape from the layers of clothes, gloves, hats, boots and dry cold air, it offers Dave the time to plan his seed orders. With the sliding glass doors open to the warm, moist ocean breeze and the sound of waves crashing, he sits at the table with catalogs and last year’s crop information strewn around him and, with the exception of tomatoes which always begin his order, he plods alphabetically through from arugula to zinnias.
“I’m done with beans!” he’ll say. Or, “now on to peppers!”
He usually starts several days into our trip, but once he starts, he returns to the task daily until it’s complete. As we enjoy a romantic dinner at a hotel downtown, he tells me he’s doing fewer watermelon varieties this year, but more in quantity – trying to perfect the ability to get enough watermelons ripening and sweet at the same time in order to serve the CSA. Or as we walk down the beach from the Royal Hacienda to Playa del Carmen, I hear that he’s ordered a lot of edamame, despite each year saying “never again”. Floating in the clear blue waters, waiting for waves, he tells me he’s received many CSA requests for more peas, so he’s added some new varieties that ripen earlier or later in the season. And as a waiter delivers a hot salsa for our chips while we await lunch, Dave shares that he’s added Chinese Lanterns to his hot pepper order this year and that they grow very hot and add great color to the field.
By the time we’re flying home, I’m ready for spring and freshly harvested, colorful, rich produce. We talk about the fact that asparagus will be coming soon! And then we remember, as we do each year, that it’s really May they arrive, and not April as we always hope. And then we step off the plane and out onto the sidewalk, and as the cold air hits us we wonder if spring will ever come.
When we awake the next morning we extend our breakfast a bit so as to avoid stepping out onto dirt, not sand, to feed chickens and goats rather than swim with fish and turtles. But we quickly ease back into the routine. And as we enter the greenhouse we see how the onions and leeks have come up and the lettuce is looking lush and tender. There are several tons of potting soil ready and waiting and as soon as all the orders are called in, seed will arrive and we’ll be well on our way to rich feasts of locally grown goodness.