ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Farming is Tough Work

Updated on July 5, 2013
A tomato from La Vista Community Supported Garden
A tomato from La Vista Community Supported Garden | Source

An appreciation of farmers

About 15 or 16 years ago, I flew to Minnesota to visit my brother and his family. I flew into Rochester and had to rent a car to get to his place. He was living in a small town at the time. I can’t remember the name now, it was just one of the many small Minnesota towns he lived in for a number of years before moving to Rochester.

As I drove along the two-lane highway, passing fields of whatever it was that the farmers were growing at the time, I remember being amazed by two things.

First, that there was so much open land and how beautiful it was. Miles and miles of open space, filled with fields of corn, probably wheat as well.

The other thing I remember of that drive is how I began to get a real appreciation of farmers, the work they do and the lives they lead. Close to the land, moving through their days with the seasons.

Some of the flats of tomatoes to be planted
Some of the flats of tomatoes to be planted | Source

Planting tomatoes

I’m not a farmer, but I am very involved in a community supported garden. La Vista is a shareholder farm. That is, we sell shares of the season’s harvest to about 120 families. They share in the risks and rewards of the season. Three years ago, we had an abundance of produce and everyone was ecstatic over the harvest. Last year, we had a lot of problems – drought, new farmers, a new board of directors. We struggled through the summer but were able to finish strong in the fall. Still, we lost quite a few members who chose not to return this year.

As a member of La Vista, I'm obligated to put in three hours of volunteer time on the farm. As a member of the board of directors, it's even more important to put in my time (not that I don't already - many hours, actually).

Last month, I and two other board members helped the farmer and his wife and our assistant farmer plant about 600 tomato plants. Before we could begin to plant them, Eric, our farmer, mixed rabbit poo with mulch. This was incorporated into the field with a hand tiller. Then Tom, a board member, used a post hole digger to make a hole that Cindy and I then dropped the tomato plants into.

We had a system going and were able to plant them all in about 3 hours.

Chef Jacques tests a recipe during the annual Tomato Fest contest
Chef Jacques tests a recipe during the annual Tomato Fest contest | Source

Fruits of our labor

Tomatoes are one of the vegetables everyone clamors for in the summer, and so we planted beefsteak slicing tomatoes and Paul Robeson heirloom tomatoes. We also planted romas. Already in the field were two types of cherry tomatoes. That was round one. We’ll do another planting so that we can reap many of this favorite vegetable in time for our annual Tomato Fest in early August.

Our Tomato Fest is a time when we gather as a garden community and share recipes and have a recipe contest, play games using overripe tomatoes (such as tomato golf and hopscotch) and just generally have a chance to come together as a community and enjoy the fruits of our labors.

This is the fifth in a series of monthly hubs I’ll be writing in 2011 about La Vista Community Supported Garden in Godfrey, Illinois. I joined La Vista in 2005 and became a member of its board of directors a year later. This series – La Vista: Nurturing land and people – will take the reader through a year at the farm, sharing the struggles and triumphs of operating a CSA and the benefits of membership. I hope you find this series useful and interesting and, as always, feel free to leave a comment.

Next month: Tips for using herbs in medicines and cooking


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)