I don’t know if it’s my Japanese heritage manifesting itself or if food is just my primary love language, but I have always loved eating, feeding and convening over food. Wanna get together? I’ll make you dinner. What’s my favorite part of any camping trip? Cooking over the campfire. It’s your birthday? Let’s go to brunch! So you can see why a career in feeding people appeals to me.
Yet, for some strange reason, more than an entire year at Cloverleaf elapsed before I experienced the most gratifying moment of my people-feeding career. After a long day at a farmers market, I arrived home exhausted on a hot June afternoon, plopped down in a chair on my partner’s porch, and wrestled my boots off my aching feet for the evening. Moments later my partner’s roommate stomped up the front stairs, cradling a brown cardboard CSA box. Sitting on the porch, the boys gathered around and unlatched the cardboard tabs of their first CSA box to reveal the luscious red blush of Zee Diamond peaches contrasted starkly against the radiant orange of Robada apricots. Within seconds, a flurry of lunging limbs and outstretched hands snatched up the pieces of fruit, followed by explosions of juice and shortly after, a chorus of guttural moans and belly-deep satisfaction. Half the box had disappeared.
When you’re teetering on the top of a ladder in the midst of a heat wave in the midst of fire season or wondering how your barely above minimum wages compare to the probably salaried farmers market customer berating you for your prices, it can be really hard to remember why you signed up for all this bull shit. It can be damn near impossible to convince yourself that you can continue doing this at all. But when you see your partner, your mother, your neighbors, a five-year-old, or even a total stranger go wide-eyed and lose their fucking mind over a peach, it all becomes very clear.