“Hey…Is this daikon radish vegan?” so asks a customer at a recent farmer’s market.
Now it is lucky this question wasn’t posed to me (it was posed to a wonderful, albeit very serious intern on the farm this year who answered “yes” but then wondered later if perhaps it actually wasn’t vegan since we fertilize with chicken poo…). If I had gotten this question, I would have probably had to sit down on a bag of potatoes I would have laughed so hard.
|Be forewarned. If you see this look on my face I might be pulling your leg…|
But this does bring up an interesting conversation about all the funny questions we’ve gotten over the years. Not that we don’t welcome a open discourse so we can better educate our customers about our vegetables and what it means to grow them. But sometimes we are, momentarily, flabbergasted. And, to be honest, go home and giggle a bit.
Here’s a few other good ones we’ve gotten over the years…
* The guy in the the road bicycle regalia. Rides his bike up to our booth, pauses, looks around, and asks me “where are the bananas?” (I told him that he might want to try a farmer’s market in Florida! Or the grocery store down the block…).
* The woman who was very interested in purchasing some of our fresh herb bunches but needed directions on how to dry them so she would be able to use them. She was flabbergasted when I explained to her while she COULD dry them, it was probably easier to just use them fresh.
* The woman who saw me, rushed up with a recipe in hand asking for fava beans. I try to explain to her that it is October, about 3 months past fava bean season (which are usually on in June/July/August. She tells me no problem, she can come by the farm on Wednesday and pick them up! (Because apparently I can plant them, grow them and harvest them in 4 days!).
* A number of folks asked us last year our vegetables were grown under cover and radiation free. (due to the tsunami in Japan). Certainly we were also concerned about worries about radiation fall-out from Japan, but is there a way to cover 12 acres of fields of veggies to prevent radiation fall-out? Hmm….not really. An alternative would have been to just plow everything in but well, the budget wouldn’t have been happy with that plus of course, then no veggies (radiated or not). Although we actually started advertising our tomatoes and basil as “radiation free” as they are grown in plastic hoophouses. Of course, I suppose the plastic off-gases in the heat but heck…. it isn’t radiation!
* We are very often asked if this vegetable or that vegetable is good for juicing. For the record, if you have a good enough juicer pretty much any vegetable can be juiced. Now why you would want to juice an onion or a garlic, I don’t know, but that is up to personal taste!
* Oh, and yes, all our vegetables are gluten free. Except for the grains.
We are very very very often asked about a vegetable, “what do you do with this.” Sometimes, when I’m a bit tired, I respond with “You eat it!” But then I laugh and explain how. I keep in mind that the majority of people (sadly) don’t grow up realizing that yes, potatoes come out of the dirt and tomatoes from a vine. My kids can identify a kohlrabi from a cauliflower but a lot, lot, lot of folks just simply have never even had the opportunity!
But nonetheless, it is fun to relate the “war stories” after a long market season. And I know this isn’t merely related to vegetables. When I was a kid in dairy 4-H we went to the state fair in Puyallup every year with our dairy cows. Many of them were mature milk cows and the Puyallup fair had a really cool glass-sided milking parlor where visitors could watch as you milked your cows 2x daily. And I was personally asked, and quite seriously too, which cow produced the chocolate milk. I finally started just telling them it was the brown cow (the Jersey).
When I was working as a journalist in rural Eastern Washington I once had an editor who was outraged when I reported in the police report that a hay stack had “spontaneously combusted.” Lucky for the paper, I grew up a farm kid because I would have been laughed out of town if I had pressed forward with the conspiracy theory my city-raised editor was convinced of…that we had a local arsonist running around lighting hay stacks on fire. (For the record, when hay gets wet and moldy and starts to rot in creates a lot of heat – it is essentially composting. And particularly in a big stack and in warm weather the intense heat from rotting bales can yes, light outer dry bales on fire. It is not uncommon to see smoking hay stacks or hear about barns that burned down because of hay put up wet.)
I probably get this sense of humor from my father. who I once heard tell somebody that the way to tell the difference between male and female cabbage plants (planted together to produce hybrid seed cabbage) was to flip the plant over and…”if you can find it’s little thingee… well then it’s a boy!” (Again, for the record, hybrid cabbage production is rather complicated but essentially, male and female cabbage plants are selectively cross-bred for specific traits and when those two plants are bred together they then each provide the correct desired traits in their “child” who’s seed is produce and then sold to farmers across the world. Interestingly enough the male and female “parts” of many plants is quite obviously rather, well, obvious in the flower. Check out male and female squash blossoms and you’ll catch my drift.).
Of course, my favorite all time “amuse yourself at the expense of the city kid” story was one I related in this posting. And yes, it’s a true story. http://www.funnyfarmertales.blogspot.com/2010/02/big-red-bird-aka-bill-and-city-people.html
So yes, while we welcome your questions and no, there really is no such thing as a stupid question. I hope you can forgive us if we a giggle a bit now and then!
Meanwhile, here is the list of veggies we are bringing to the Coupeville and Bayview markets today!
From Willowood Farm:
* Mesclun and Arugula bags
* Head lettuce
* Fava beans (almost over – get them before they are gone!)
* Potatoes – Starting into kinds by variety!
* Garlic – 8 kinds today!
* Juicing bags! (yes, we decided to take advantage of the never ending “can you juice” this question and just make an easy to grab bag!)
* Japanese turnip bags (you can pickle or juice them!)
* Walla onions w/ greens
* Red Torpedo onions w/ greens
* Summer squash
And much more! The bounty is on…so come check it out!