I grew a thing! Lots of things, actually. And some of them are ready to eat!
Given that we’ve had this farm for over four years, you might be forgiven for being surprised at my enthusiasm. But the thing is, I love it whenever anyone asks what we grow here at Natembea, because it lets me don a cocky smile and give a one word answer: “Farmers.” We’ve had ten different families or businesses grow crops or raise animals here. We’ve had five successful new local businesses start and thrive. In these four short years, we’ve had orchards planted and a tree nursery, a flower farm and a brand new vegetable business startup. We’ve kept horses, cows, goats, chickens, pigs and even donkeys here. We grow farmers.
But my efforts have always been at the administrative level, making sure we had the equipment everyone needed, building housing, wrestling with permits and ponds and taxes. Sure, I’ve done my share of tractoring and fence pulling and brush hogging. But I’ve never actually grown something here.
You may remember a couple of months back, folks who lived on the farm decided to put up a community garden. We put in a bunch of communal storage crops: squash, onions and potatoes, and we each staked out a row or two for “personal” crops. I put in a row of Blue Lake beans harvested from the beans that we’d been growing in Palo Alto. Got a couple of salad cuke starters and discovered that I had a pack of beet seeds. Well, I like beets, so I planted them. Then, when it was time to thin them, I took all the little guys I thinned, and put them into another row. Well, it’s all growing like crazy, and we’re now at the point where I have to (Have to? Get to.) thin the beets further by pulling a bunch of scrumptious fresh beets out and, well, eating them.
So hurrah – I grew a thing! And by the look of the beans and cukes, more good things are on the way.