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.