A Love Letter to the Farm Share

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I attacked my refrigerator in a spring cleaning frenzy the other day, pitching outdated condiments, scraps wrapped in aluminum foil, and salad dressing bottles with less than two tablespoons remaining. I’ll note that I was away from home for a good portion of the winter, so I can’t be held responsible for many of these refrigerator mysteries.

We’re in the pause between when our winter Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share ended and the spring one begins, so I made short work of the produce drawers. All that remained were the greenish-black traces of what I believe was once cilantro, along with a shrunken lemon, and bits of feathery, dried carrot tops collected in the corners. The ceremony was complete when I tossed a shriveled, leathery beet into the back yard for the squirrels. 

I scrubbed and polished everything to a shine, and even slid the lever back and forth a couple of times on the crisper drawer, landing on the picture of a head of lettuce, just in case it actually does something. 

This year marks my seventh season as a farm share member of Missoula Grain and Vegetable Co. (MGVC), a relationship that began on a street corner on a warm spring evening in 2015.

It was March 6, and I was downtown for the First Friday art walk, a monthly Missoula event where galleries and local businesses host a variety of artists and their work. On the busy corner of Higgins and Broadway, two grinning young men sat at a card table with a few clipboards and several small booklets. They were wearing threadbare t-shirts; whip thin, deeply tanned, and dirty.  At least, that was how I described them in my journal entry from that day.  

Max and Kenny had written and illustrated a comic strip about a farm they had started, an invitation for community members to join their CSA. That evening, theirs was my favorite stop, partly because I’m not sure they were even officially part of the event, and mostly because their comic was so creative, funny, and sincere that I probably would have bought anything they’d tried to sell me. 

There was a sign-up form for the CSA, maybe at the back of the comic, or maybe I’m making that up. All I know for absolute certain is that I wanted to be part of the farm. I  remember going home that evening and cutting out characters from the comic, and pasting them into the scene on a postcard I’d bought on a trip and never sent. I made some sort of visual story out of it, then glued the completed sign up form to the back, officially throwing my hat in the ring.

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