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The Hoe Theory


You know it’s going to be a good day when the owner and lead farmer, Rich, greets you with a hug and says, “let’s go farming!” I am an experiential learner which is why I chose this self-described path to become educated about our food system. And without effort, the knowledge is dripping everywhere. We start by trimming some chamomile and Rich takes the trimmings and says, “now smell that.” And we pass it around breathing in its lovely fragrance. These are the type of people you want growing your food…it’s grown with love! The first part of the day was devoted to transplanting starters to their field beds, broccoli and fennel. It’s a traumatic process for these youngsters as they get pulled from their plug and sit in the shade waiting to get planted in their new home. It’s a frenetic process because you don’t want the starters sitting out too long and drying out. They must go in the ground with wet roots. But they also must be handled carefully. The afternoon is all about hoeing. We hoed over 1600 feet apiece which took about 4hrs. You’ve heard the concept that if you eat meat, you should hunt and kill at least once. Well, if you eat vegetables, you should hoe for a few hours. We would waste a lot less food in this country if we did because you would see the care and time it takes to nurture the food that we see so bountifully in the produce section or at the farmers market. Someone had to bring each and every plant to harvest. And hoeing is serious business. I call it The Hoe Theory…We must have stopped as a group to talk about the technique of hoeing at least four times…working in teams, one person doing the sides and someone else the in-between. And what I learned is that hoeing is not so much about aerating the soil but weeding. Aahh! And the hoes are state of the art. It’s still backbreaking work but this beauty slices and dices. The real coincidence is, I just saw the hoe we were using profiled on Grist.org the other day It’s called the Hula Hoe. So when I saw what we were using, I was like I know that hoe 🙂