Dr. Heather Karsten
August 11, 2000
Coffee and Corn
It was five-thirty in the morning and the sun was not up. My eyes were only half open as I reached for my rain gear. It wasn’t raining outside but the corn plants were wet with dew and I was headed out to the fields to pick sweet corn. As I headed out to the fields in the back of a pick-up truck with a Porto Rican family we looked up to see the last few stars that remained before the sun erased them from the sky.
We pulled up to the field that was ripe enough to pick and we piled out of the trucks bed. Each picker stood in front of two rows and ripped off an ear to test its maturity. We each have to taste the corn and notice the ripeness of it. This is very important aspect of corn picking.
Today it was hard to see as the fog was thick. We slowly made our way up the rows of corn filling bag after bag of corn. The rustling of the leaves was a peaceful sound but you need to listen closely as picking corn is not a silent activity. Numbers were flying from both sides of you about how many ears were in the sack and how many dozen needed to be picked yet. Jokes were told and much laughing could be heard.
The fog began to lift and the surrounding hills began to show their glory. I picked up the pace of a little as my stomach longed for breakfast break.
By eight o’clock the bags are usually full and are loaded on a truck. We ride back to the farm for some coffee and breakfast. The ride back to the farm usually has more talking as we are glad that the job is done. The other workers are just arriving but we’ve been up for hours. Mark, the hired man, runs into the kitchen to make some Greek coffee.
I am tired by this point but I know that first sip will strengthen me for the busy day that lies ahead. Proper management and is what sustains this farm but coffee is what sustains the farmer.