Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A tale of many very wet tomatoes

Tuesday is our CSA day, the day fresh fruits and veggies arrive from upstate. A neighbor and I split a share, and I get a full share in exchange for being a manager for eight shifts. Yesterday another neighbor asked if I could pick up her share for her today, since she had a medical test and is very pregnant, and of course I said yes. Because it is good to be able to help people when they need it.

It was raining when I left home at 4pm with my aging granny wagon. I steered it up the street to the park where our CSA delivery is, golf umbrella held awkwardly in the other hand to keep me dry. The truck with the delivery was stuck in traffic somewhere. I settled in to wait. It poured and poured. At about 4:45 a man who had been standing around anxiously asked, "If I can't come back, do I lose my share?" Well, yes, you do. Seeing that he was stuck -- he had to go teach a piano lesson -- I offered to bring his share to my house, so he could pick it up later. I had the granny cart, and it really didn't make all that much difference to me to get one more share.

It rained some more, and some more, and some more. Finally, around 5:15 or so, the truck arrived. Everyone helped unload it. There were five kinds of tomatoes, which seemed a bit excessive, so we had to make a second aisle of produce. But then people could select their tomatoes from that aisle while waiting for others to finish getting their vegetables. And by then there were a *lot* of people waiting around.

And it rained even more. I'd put my umbrella down somewhere during the unloading, and was completely drenched. And then by the time the bins were set up it was time for the second shift to start, so I stayed to help get them started. Because when it rains, that's what you do, no? You help others out.

Eventually I started collecting the items for the four shares I was picking up.
20 ears of corn
4 red onions
8 yellow onions
12 peppers
4 celery, 4 lettuces, 4 bunches of chard, 4 bunches of basil
8 yellow paste tomatoes
16 red paste tomatoes
8 'mixed' tomatoes
100 small yellow tomatoes
28 juliet tomatoes

Oh -- and fruit and eggs, too.

Almost everything fit into my family-of-seven size granny cart. There were a few things sticking out of the top, and I had a bag over my shoulder. I found my umbrella and started to leave, but then --oops! -- the cart hit a bad bump and fell over. Crash. Out rolled the tomatoes, smush went the lettuce. My shin stung, and the granny cart wobbled. Nothing was too bad, though, and I figured my family could eat the damaged goods.

So I packed everything back in. I tried to leave a second time. I pushed the cart carefully over the curb, and promptly stepped in four inches of water. The cart veered crazily, axle all but gone, and another rib of the umbrella snapped. But no cars whizzed by to splash me, and I was quite pleased with myself for making an entire block's worth of progress before abandoning the umbrella into a trash can.

With two hands free I was able to wrestle the granny cart down the street, past cars chassis-deep in water from the rain. I arrived home, soaked to the skin, and sorted through the produce.

I was missing a dozen peaches and half a dozen eggs.

And so I headed back out into the rain, back up to the park, to retrieve them. Because if you're going to do other people a favor, it's not good to forget their peaches and eggs. I smiled a soggy smile on the way. They'd increased the tomato and corn share in my absence, realizing they had way too much on hand. So I took home more of each.

When I got back I changed my pants, wryly hoping they would not dry at their new fit-a-basketball-player length. I was so wet that I didn't even notice that my sweater was damp until an hour later. The kids clamored for supper, I tossed something on the stove, and the phone rang. It was the piano teacher, wanting to know if he could stop by. Of course.

And so the man came by. I handed him his bags and bags and bags. And then I handed him his fresh-cut flowers, still glistening with rain. "No, we'd like you to have those," he said, "In thanks for helping out."

My granny cart is dead, my shin is bruised, my clothes will take a week to dry, and we ate dinner at nearly 8pm. But I am stupidly happy. It's not even the flowers. But the flowers make me happy, too.


  1. Ah, that's the community part of a CSA.

  2. You're such a badass. Love you.

  3. There's something about being out in the rain. Unless I really get freezing cold, it does something good for my soul.

  4. Is it wrong that I LOVED that @Magpie called you a badass? hahaha I did! and that she loves you? I do! How boring would your blog have been had it not rained and things went smoothly?