Cherry Tomatoes and the New Year.

Cierra Bland - Ecuador


May 14, 2015

This storyis from January.

My friend’s family are the heads of an organic farmer’s association. I lived at her house for 8 days and I learned some things, not only about farming, but about myself as well.

The main thing that I learned is that I am not cut out to be a farmer. I am going to try to work on a farm at some point in my life due to my deep love of food and desire to change the food industry, but it will be hard. I have a pollen allergy, I am afraid of small animals (also large animals), I am pretty weak, and I hate having dirt in my nails, I have cut them down to the nub.

All of this, but I was still extremely enthusiastic about working on the farm. Going to the market? Not so much. I can not do the 5 am wake up call. I did, however, pick 5 rows of strawberries in the greenhouse. Then, a frog jumped out at me. After I screamed, my friend’s host-mom told me to go pick the cherry tomatoes.

As I was in the cherry tomato forest, I remembered a painful memory from my childhood. Allergies. I lost it. I started sneezing my head off.

Later, I would sink knee deep in mud while trying to pick green peppers. I really am not fit to be a farmer.

I have, however, developed such deep respect for farmers. Not that I ever disrespected the profession, but I never thought about the hard work that they do to feed the world.

I went with my friend’s family up to their farm on New Year’s Eve. We were there until about5:30pm. On the last day of the year. And my friend told me that they were there on Christmas Day too. I realized just how dedicated to the lifestyle you have to be.

My Ecuadorian New Year’s celebration, with my friend’s entire extended family, was so surreal and unlike anything I expected. We sack-raced, three-legged raced, broke pots (pi̱ata-style), and lit a giant fire with these scarecrow like dolls that were meant to represent someone in each family, called los a̱os viejos” (the old years).

Cierra Bland