|The Sardine Meal|
Towards the end of each August, right before some of our seasonal workers begin to peel off (thanks, Jared!), Mike and I treat the crew to a nice meal in Madison.
Sardine has been our restaurant of choice these past few years. First, because their food is amazing! And secondly, because they have consistently supported our farm with almost weekly orders of our vegetables for many, many years. It is a great treat to go to a restaurant that is doing it right – and honestly! (There are a number of restaurants in the Madison area that make an order from us once a year, just so they can put our names on the their menu and act like they support us.)
So many things make this celebration fun.
First, it is a hoot to see everyone get all dressed up. For Mike and I and our crew of 9, we work in the fields every day. We wear work pants, work boots, hats, and old t-shirts that we don’t mind getting messy. We sweat. We get rained on. We get muddy. We pick what we think is a good tomato, only to stick our finger in rot, and then wipe our hands ‘clean’ on our pants or the grass. We do not look, dress, or smell glamourous.
Each crew member’s entrance was like its own little red carpet surprise. All of us had so much fun seeing each other in nice civilian clothes. Keaton walked in wearing a white button down shirt, and a black velvet jacket. We all hooted, “Damn, look at you!”. Emma was wearing a dress…a dress! Sheena had pink-striped slacks on. Taylor had black eyeliner and dangling earrings. Jared was wearing glasses and we could see that his hair is actually more brown then blond – who knew when it’s hidden under a baseball cap all the time!
Ok, the next thing that makes this meal fun is the drinks. Not only does Sardine do a great job with a fantastic beer selection and delicious mixed drinks, but the fact that we get to drink alcohol together as a crew is big fun. You know how it is, drinking with your co-workers, it brings things to a whole new level. And our crew is particularly fun and gets along so well this year. So getting to share some drinks together was awesome.
And then the food. There’s two parts to eating at the crew meal that amazing.
One. The food. It is so dang delicious. Enough said there.
Two. Eating this delicious food with a bunch a farm workers who LOVE food.
We may not all be fantastic foodies and cooks in the kitchen, but if there’s one thing that unites us all, it’s our love of local vegetables. When we get to eat these vegetables that have been made amazing by the Sardine staff, we are all just on a high. It’s a celebration of joyous eating. “Oh my god, try this!” “Did you taste this?!” Exclamations littered the table all night. Everyone was smiling and passing plates and just giddy on the deliciousness of it all.
Last of all, it’s a great joy for Mike and I to thank our crew in this different, non-paycheck kind of way. Our field crew works so incredibly hard. They each work 4 days a week, 10 hours at a time. They use their bodies the whole time. Sharing a wonderful meal with them, with the stress of work not in the picture, it is a true joy.
Enjoy your veggies,