Have You Thanked a Farmer Recently?

Today’s drive across Central Washington was a slog. Hours upon hours of beige fields and hills, broken only by the occasional green swath of not-yet-harvested hay. Yet as boring as my drive was, I was impressed by what those fields represented: the likely starting point for the hay we use for livestock, for covering newly planted grass seed, and for Halloween displays.

The fields tell a story, if you pay attention. Some are newly planted and being sprayed with water. Some fields are green and growing. Some fields are being harvested, while others were recently harvest and await bailing.

Then there are the hay barns, some simply a roof and support beams to keep rain off, and others huge warehouses. Today I saw, for the first time, huge stacks of hay under house-sized plastic “sheds” to keep all moisture out. I also saw hay rolled into cylinders and shrink wrapped in plastic like huge sausages.

Those endless miles and miles of hay-growing land — followed by rolling hills covered with wine grapes and then apples — were a striking reminder of the many hands needed –from landowners to undocumented workers–to ensure that I have food on my table. Strangers to me work long hours and put themselves at risk from pesticides and fertilizers and body-wracking effort.

I thought about that today when I made a sandwich on 22-grain bread. A lot of different farms contributed the grain for my meal. I’m grateful for their efforts.

Happy trails, Melanie