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New Sensory Experiences

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After an early-morning oil change turned into seven hundred dollars of early-afternoon car repairs, I began the drive down route one and arrived at Tutti Frutti Farms late Tuesday evening.  I couldn’t ask for a better send-off from civilized society.  Since my arrival in “the boonies”, I’ve been greeted by a host of new sensory experiences.

Fresh Sounds:  The first creatures to greet me were the croaking frogs in the river down by Chris’s house.  I was told that hearing their incessant chirping is a good thing, as it is a sign of low pollution levels.  When the sun rises the frogs hand-off their duties to the birds, who continue the peaceful chirping throughout the day.  But the most pleasant of the fresh sounds has definitely been the absence of traffic noise.

Squash about to be planted in the field


Fresh Feelings:  There is quite the variance between how day and night feels in the Santa Rosa road valley.  At night and early morning one is enveloped in a heavy fog, and the air feels crisp and cool.  By mid-morning or early afternoon, the fog is blown away and the crisp air is replaced by the warmth of the mid-day sun.  This arrangement makes for easy night-time sleeping and pleasant day-time weather.

Fresh Sights:  After being in the fields and seeing the peas, squash, tomatoes, and kale, I was struck by how little I know about how plants grow.  “What are these yellow flowers for?  Where does the fruit grow?  How many times can squash be harvested before the plant dies?”  In addition to the flora, I’ve seen many animals that I’d never seen in the wild before, including a king snake and a coyote running across Chris’s tomato fields.

Zucchini blossoms


Fresh Smells:   Upon entering the tomato greenhouses one must succumb to an overwhelming stench of old seafood.  This is the result of  a “fish beer” concoction, a big microbial bath of digested fish remains that serves as fertilizer for the plant.  Adding to this delightful smell is a kelp spray, another concoction of living microorganisms that is both pumped into the soil and sprayed on the plant.  The kelp acts as a growth hormone and helps a lot with the flowering of the fruit (which, as I learned earlier, equals more tomatoes.)

Fresh Tastes:  This is perhaps the most important category of them all.  I can’t imagine that there could be any fresher tastes than what one has access to on a farm.  Walking into the fields to pick some broccoli and lettuce for dinner seems very surreal to me, but it is definitely a process I could get used to!

Chris from Tutti Frutti. The Heirloom tomato plants look great!


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