Seemed like a fine day for a carrot pull, so I moseyed out to the GrassRoots Garden, a volunteer organization dedicating to producing fresh produce for Lane County residents in need. Stood in a row of people sharing my interest. The mood was light, the sun was even out briefly, and even in the dead of winter, the garden still bore fat heads of cabbage, brussels sprouts, and leeks.
We waited until 11 a.m. on the dot, then we all PULLED!
Carrots were piled in waiting wheelbarrows, and fascinating specimens were brought over to two washing stations for examination and judging. Kids, in particular, loved the idea of finding the biggest, littlest, weirdest, skinniest, etc., carrot, and although I didn’t stick around to see the results of the contest, I made note of several contenders.
The news crews were there. Several concurrent interviews were taking place. This poor reporter looked stylish, but those very SoCal pointy stilettos do not a carrot farmer make, and I think she was having a hard time finding her footing. Heck, the soil was so rich and worked over that even *I* was having a hard time walking in my clogs.
Several of us had amateur cameras, too. I might be on the news tonight, fiddling with mine, since I was standing next to the woman in the white vest (clearly). She’s a Master Gardener, and like many Master Gardeners, bold and fearless. With her own camera, she jumped up on the huge pile of fall leaves, ready for composting, to get the money shot. Wave, she shouted, wave!
We all waved.
The GrassRoots Garden is staffed by Food for Lane County, volunteers from youth programs and schools, business and church groups, and the OSU Extension Master Gardeners. In 2007, they produced over 50,000 lbs. of fresh food for FFLC. Working at the food pantries, I often see piles of achingly fresh farm greens, onions, crucifers and other delights available for anyone who needs them.
As you might imagine, this makes me very proud of my community, and also really glad that there are some healthy options for the growing number of people who need to supplement their incomes with the food resources we have here. I’m starting my first official Master Gardener course next week, I’m thrilled to say, and I can’t wait to see what else comes out of the soil.
P.S. I should add that I plan to make my Moroccan Carrot Purée with Harissa with my giant carrot souvenir. If you’ve come to this post from the carrot pull, and you’re looking for new recipes, check out this addictive carroty spread!