The rain fell in College Station for about 4 days in a row. Unfortunately, this rain caused all our delicate lettuces in the beds to rot. But some plants loved the spring showers and soaked up the pH balanced rains to give way to firm, bright green leaves. The rains caused the farm to burst with color and vibrancy with the pinks, reds, and oranges of our dainty pea flowers. To me, the greens of our plants and the colorful flowers come to life in the backdrop of an overcast sky. The beauty of Howdy Farm in spring will be with me forever as I am sad to say my internship is coming to a close. Even though my internship is ending, I know I will be back to Howdy Farm often.
Because my internship is wrapping up, there was still one thing I needed to complete: work the Howdy Farm tent at the Brazos Valley Farmer’s Market. The Brazos Valley Farmer’s Market takes place in the quaint downtown Bryan from 8-12 on Saturdays. Farmers and other vendors line the street selling treasures of all sorts. Some sell little seedlings of tomatoes and herbs; others bring their delicious local bakery goods, while others sell the seasonal fruits and vegetables growing in their farms. People of the community line up for the delicious tacos from a famous food truck and float from vendor to vendor to learn about what the local farm and business owners have to offer. Families and students alike leave the farmers market with seasonal treasures like sweet onions, carrots, and Swiss chard while nibbling delicious chocolate chip cookies.
I could feel the vibrancy of the farmer’s market as I got to talk to every community member who visited our tent. I felt great pride as I described what Howdy Farm is all about. That day at the market we brought hundreds of fragrant green onions, some Texas size fennel, big juicy white and red onions, and magenta radishes. One of my favorite parts of my internship was explaining how a customer could use the produce we were selling. I was able to use my love of produce forward cooking to help people increase the variety of produce in their diets. As nutrition major, the ability to share my love of produce and cooking with others is my true passion. Throughout the morning I showed off our produce to all our visitors and weighed and bagged their produce for them. This experience showed me the importance of farmer’s markets in the community, and I know wherever I go I will always find joy when I find the local farmer’s market.
On the last day of my internship, I got to learn about how the beautiful onions sold at our market were harvested. The bed with the onions was a strange sight as the onion stalks appeared to be standing in every direction; some stems remained upright while many stuck out at odd angles from the ground, still others were completely toppled over in the soggy soil. My initial thought was that the onions were dying, but much to my surprise, when the onions topple over this means they are ready to harvest! To harvest I stepped tenderly through the muddy beds and stuck a shovel under the onion roots. With a gentle push, I dug the onion slightly out of the soil so it was easy to remove with a simple pluck. After, the interns and I trimmed the roots and cut off about half of the crunchy stems. Washing the onions and pealing their outer layer revealed a juicy onion of bright white and deep purple.