September 6, 2011
conuco farm
conuco farm
conuco farm
conuco farm
all photos by ray ray mitrano.
during the hurricane last week, james and i sat mostly bored in our tiny apartment. we had beeswax candles and a deck of cards at the ready in case the power went out and stores of non-perishable food, just to be safe. we weren’t too worried about food, though. our kitchen table full to brimming with yellow, orange, red tomatoes, patty pan squash, and other goodies from the farm market where james had worked on saturday morning. while the storm raged, i shot photos of squash blossoms and waxed poetic about the delights of the season.
but in those same moments, the hurricane was wreaking havoc just upstate. hector tejada, the farmer responsible for the bounty we munched on while we waited out the storm, has since lost every last inch of this season’s harvest. flood waters devastated his crops and ruined his greenhouse.
in just one day, an entire season’s worth of work wiped utterly away. a livelihood taken from farmer and farm hands in one unapologetic swoop. 
unobservant passers-by might not notice hector’s missing tent at the fort greene farmer’s market this fall. they might walk by the empty spot on the corner of dekalb avenue and never know that the plant that bore them a delicious tomato last week, is now caked in clay, the sun-ripened fruit rotting on the vine. 
if you have spare change, consider donating it to grownyc’s campaign.
and if you’re not in the habit, thank your farmers the next time you buy a tomato. it’s an awfully big gamble they’ve taken to bring it to you.
more articles on hurricane damage to farms here and here.

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  • Reply Mo Pie, Please September 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    It's so sad how many farmers lost their harvests. So very sad. It amazes me how we all get our produce every day and all the hard work they pour into it. Just amazing!

  • Reply White Tapestry September 6, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Wow…I hadn't really thought of that. It's sad, I know the work that goes into my teeny tiny garden….

  • Reply Stacey September 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    thank you for shining a light on this

  • Reply d&d September 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    beautiful. my boyfriends familys farm in maine lost much of their crops off the coast of maine. we're reminded that we're at the mercy of mother nature!

  • Reply caroline September 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    oh yes, vermont is going through the same thing. farms/crops completely whipped out. it's devastating.

  • Reply Amanda (Dear Frances) September 14, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    This is a wonderful post, though of course terribly sad. A good reminder that there are so many layers of tragedy when these kinds of disasters strike. Thank you – I will be that much more mindful and thankful when I head to our local farmer's market this weekend.

  • Reply Juli Payton July 13, 2012 at 4:17 am

    I am so loving your blog I found by accident! I was reading this and it literally made me think and then I started crying. Why? Because my grandparents had alot of land that they harvested many things to eat that I enjoyed as a child and into adulthood. I took it all for granted! They are both gone and the land now belongs to others. I do not know how they use it, but I have always loved fresh fruit and veggies and never realized the work it took to make that happen. I just always knew it was there for me. I wont take that lightly again. Thanks for the wake up call!

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