Saturday, July 7, 2012

Week Three--Summer Job

Fridays at Freewheelin’ Farm!

Each summer for the past 6 years, we end our week at Freewheelin' Farm.  Located just 5 miles north of town, the folks at Freewheelin' give our youth a supported environment on a production farm to learn how to work hard and finish the week with a bang.  We bring our youth crew there to lock in the invaluable job skill of "rigor"--being able to sustain hard work.  Our motto at Freewheelin' is to "FINISH STRONG!" And there's no doubt, we do.  
Kirstin and Darryl own and run this organic farm based on two sources of inspiration: Kirstin’s passion for the growth and success of local, small farms and Darryl’s undying love of cooking fresh and delicious food. Between these two, (and their workers, Emma and Jim), this awesome farm has flourished over the last seven years.  Through  CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and farmer’s markets, they distribute their produce to a wide variety of people within the community. They also provide produce for various restaurants throughout Santa Cruz and the San Francisco Bay Area! Emma shared the roots of her love of farming by expressing that her passion isn’t so much about the food, but about the meal that is shared with others as a result. With the idea of bringing community together strongly in mind, the FoodWhat crew joined forces with Freewheelin’ to start a particularly productive workday.

  

Doron led part of the crew in harvesting broccoli and carrots. Digging up carrots and deciding which ones were ready to be sold can be tedious but the crew finished the job with quality produce ready to go to the farmer’s market.


 In the strawberry fields, Abby and her crew picked several flats of perfectly ripe berries. With all of the practice the crew has been getting from the last few weeks of FoodWhat, they moved through the beds like a breeze and stayed very focused all the while!

 

Another crew, led by Kirstin and Emma, harvested spinach and various types of lettuce. This crew’s hard work resulted in three crates of spinach and 150 heads of lettuce! That’s a lot of leafy greens!


The lettuce and spinach crew finished up quick! Vicky and Keyah took on the job of washing, weighing, and bagging the greens to be sold the next day at the Scotts Valley farmer’s market.


The rest of the crew turned their attention to work on onions with Darryl. They focused on harvesting, peeling them to reveal the rich, purple under layers, and braiding them into beautiful bundles.

 

The strong work pace gave time for each group to come back together to plant some broccoli and lettuce seedlings.  "Some" meaning hundreds of row feet over 3 long beds!


While all of this hard work was going on, the chefs of the day were hard at work in the kitchen! Josh, Marcela, Crystal, and Brandon took on different roles within Freewheelin’s outdoor kitchen to provide the entire crew with some afternoon grub.


Today’s meal was particularly unique as Josh brought in ingredients to make his mom’s pozole recipe. What makes this meal so new to FoodWhat? This Mexican soup had chicken and pork in it! Meat lovers rejoiced! Josh even made a vegetarian version of the dish with all the necessary mix-ins such as sliced jalapeños. Brandon helped make the meal a little more colorful by preparing a luscious salad to go along with the warm meal.


With the salad complete, Brandon jumped on the tortilla-making assembly line with Crystal and Marcela. Using organic masa, the team served up some delicious homemade corn tortillas to accompany the soup. Brandon rolled the masa into balls for Crystal to roll out to the perfect thickness and size. Marcela tossed the dough onto the grill until they were the perfect combination of crispy and soft.

 

The pozole was a big hit! Vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike praised Josh’s pozole. The tortillas were delicious when dunked in the broth or even by themselves. All together, the crew seemed very satisfied with the feast they were served.

 

After lunch, the crew gathered up for a quick talk about the day to give props and make suggestions to improve future workdays. Then it was off to work again before the day’s end! Kirstin and Darryl led a crew to remove t-tape from the beds. This job was very tedious with such strong wind, but they got it done with all smiles as the tape flew like streamers.


Meanwhile, the rest of the crew was working on a hedgerow used as a defense against the wind. Native Santa Cruz plants line the outskirts of the farm to protect the fields from the cold winds and powerful gusts. The crew weeded within these giant bushes to ensure they get the nutrients they need to grow and continue fighting the wind! Luckily we had such a large group to work on such an important task.

 

And with that, the week was over! The crew successfully completed their mission of finishing strong and really made a visible impact from all their hard work at Freewheelin’ Farms.

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