In their record 9th FCS National Championship victory this past weekend, NDSU Bison head football coach Matt Entz talked about the servant leadership mindset of the team that has enabled them to support each other through a long challenging season. Doing what you love can be a struggle and sustaining all at the same time. Bringing a passion to your job and using that energy to serve and build up others can be very fulfilling. A handful of people have described the CSA as a type of ministry. I’m not sure I see it exactly like that, but I do see it as a labor of love, a motivating way for me to share my interests and talents with others. I do think it is possible to mix vocation and God’s calling. And maybe that’s whats happening here, I just haven’t noticed it yet.
This newsletter was originally published early June, 2021 for CSA members as they received their fourth box of the season.
I grew up in a small town in North Dakota. There were 35 kids in my grade, which meant anyone who tried out for a sport made the team. I was fortunate to spend most of my before and after school hours practicing or playing football, basketball, and baseball. Game days were always special events. For football we got to wear our jerseys to school and most of the time got out of class early for the day. Basketball involved invigorating pep rallies and baseball pre-game batting practice, infield, and joking around on the diamond were enjoyable and relaxing.
This spring with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, my kids resumed some of their extra curricular activities. Calvin’s freshman tennis season was cut short to one match last year, but he was able to complete a full season this spring. Naomi joined friends on a volleyball team and had successful and ever improving outings. I’m not quite sure how it began, but to help make game day special I started making them a smoothie the morning of their events. Just a simple mix of soy-milk, soy-yogurt (Calvin has a dairy allergy), bananas, and whatever other fruit we had around the house. It ensured they got a little extra nourishment to start them on the day. It was fun to celebrate and encourage their efforts on the court.
Much like those childhood game days, CSA harvest/delivery days still give me butterflies. My adrenaline perks up and my mind spins with all the tasks to do. Anxiety comes with not knowing if everything will get done on time. A feeling of relief and the satisfaction of a job completed is the reward at the end of the night.
With just a few exceptions, all items in the boxes are harvested the day of delivery. That helps ensure the most freshness and flavor as it lands on your doorstep. My schedule varies with the weather and school year, but usually I am able to get up early and be out of the house with the sunrise to do a quick picking of some items before the kids are ready to head out for their day. After driving Calvin to class and walking Naomi to school (time with the kids that I really cherish), I head back out to the field to finish gathering up the rest of the veggies. This year I’ve developed a picklist paper I keep in my pocket to make sure I get all items in correct amounts and remember to fulfill special requests. Perishable items like lettuce and bok choy are packed in to coolers with a couple of inches of ice water in the bottom. Most everything else is packed into plastic totes with lids and placed into one of two standard sized fridges in my garage. A fold-up table, two home-made countertops and a sink connected to our house’s water supply provide wash and pack area. Sorting, scrubbing, labeling and packaging are by far the most time consuming parts of delivery day. After everything is bagged up and put back into the fridges, I grab a quick bite of supper that Terri prepared (that’s one of her many ways of supporting my game day 🙂 and then its time to load up the boxes and head out to the houses. On average, it takes 1.25hrs to harvest, pack, and deliver each box.
The CSA takes up most of my game day, but it is rarely all I get to devote my time to. Often there are other garden tasks to do, like watering, weeding, and a quick planting. Sometimes there are unexpected interruptions (AC at a rental not working or moving the lawnmower to another property for our teenage son) and occasionally I check in and respond to emails at my day job as a software engineer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. A few years ago I voluntarily reduced my hours there to half-time to be able to concentrate more on the CSA. That change has been awesome. I have loved the opportunity to increase focus on the CSA and it results in a much a smoother game day.
Be Abundantly Nourished,