This month I’ve been fortunate to celebrate several accomplishments, both personal and with my VISTA service. There has been a lot of positive momentum in the last month, and it is kind of heartbreaking that I only have one month left to go. In some ways I feel like I am just hitting my stride.
After weeks of planning and several days worth of meetings, our “Seed to Table” education program will officially launch in July 2018. This has been the focal point of my last 5 months of service. I’m currently designing a section of the website where educators and parents can get information on our programs and contact us for bookings. These will be flexible, affordable, and engaging programs that connect kids with the food system and impart valuable farm wisdom.
A strong partnership with the Cleveland Academy of Leadership has made this possible, and we hope to expand this program to other schools in the area. Seed to Table offers a unique balance of outdoor education and in-class lessons that are affordable for any school or private group. Keep an eye out for our website launch of the program later this month!
Aside from Seed to Table I’ve helped run the market and get set up for the Peach Jam. We had some beautiful flower displays on loan from Carolina Garden World, raffle prizes donated by local businesses, and more varieties of peaches than I had ever seen. Who knew they all tasted so different?
I learned the difference between “freestone” and “early” peaches, and just how picky folks can be with the tartness and consistency of their peaches. While distributing peach samples at the market last Saturday I was wrapped in conversation with a few peach connoisseurs and some people who were formerly employed in the peach industry.
My favorite conversation was with a man who drove and repaired forklifts for a peach shed in Gaffney. Recounting tales of epic peach fights, where his coworkers took the too-soft peaches and flung them at each other, he spoke fondly of those days. “I made a dollar an hour my first summer boxing peaches. That was 1967. I made $300 that summer, do the math!”
Toward the end of his time working for peach sheds he made $25 an hour staying at the facility to fix any machinery that was malfunctioning. We talked about peach cobbler too, and even though I haven’t tried any in Spartanburg I doubt it could surpass my mom’s recipe. That said, samples can be delivered to our 498 Magnolia St office if you’d like to change my mind.
It’s been an exciting month to say the least, and I hope July can top it. Bringing my service to a close, I know Spartanburg will always hold a special place in my heart. Since it’s gotten warmer I realized there is nothing quite like summer in the south.