|Eleni harvesting shallots|
|Her very own grain bin perch!|
|Kick-ass Parental Units, Jake and Val|
|In the surrey|
In the end, I need not have worried so much. Eleni is an easygoing soul, polite and thoughtful, respectful and sunny. Early in her visit, I wrung my hands over a lunch at Applebee's (a reluctant decision made of time and convenience) when she made the accommodating comment, "It's okay. I'm here to be here." (I love this philosophy so much, I may need a t-shirt for it.) And, as a child of the Bay Area, she had never, ever visited an Applebee's, something that my friend, Wayne, found impossible.
|Digging up the garlic|
|With Wood Chip Marge|
Girls on Ice -We tagged along with Wayne to see his granddaughters play at their hockey camp in Minnesota. Eleni was only in the car 10 minutes before we dragged her to another state, much to her surprise. It was fun to watch young girls skate around like the pros. Eleni and I both agreed that we would be terrible at this.
|Nora takes a shot|
|Private Jacobson, reporting for duty|
|With the tail gunner|
|Props to Eleni!|
|Mmmm! Down home fungii burritos!|
Shallot and Garlic Harvest - I had Eleni pull up some shallots and we took turns harvesting the first of the garlic. It was nice to have someone there when I saw the first bulb - I squealed and kissed it. When I last saw Eleni, she was waving at me from the other side of airport security, and still holding two long souvenir garlic stalks/bulbs.
|The first of my babies!|
|A proud mama|
Farmer's Market - Every Thursday, I stress out over this tiny event so it was great to have Eleni's help. Customer-wise, there was a strong turnout and I sold out the remainder of my lettuce in the first five minutes. I sold out my green beans and peas too. Also, Eleni got to meet my cousins, Walter and Eileen Millar.
|Walter, Eleni and Eileen|
Lettuce Slaughter - Sadly, my lettuce has bolted (gone to seed) and the leaves are too bitter to sell. Wah! The remaining heads (too many to think about) needed to be dug up, ripped apart and left for compost. I didn't have the heart to do it - Eleni to the rescue! She pulled this off one morning at 6:30 a.m. while I...er, um, snoozed.
|A salad crime scene|
|She's a natural!|
|My favorite shot of Eleni|
Pembina State Museum - This was a quick visit but their excellent explanation of local geology (we're at the former bottom of Lake Agassiz, an immense body of glacial water) and the local Métis culture (when French fur traders married Native American women). Plus, I wanted her to see the Victory Gardens posters for herself.
Amazing Grains - Eleni's presence was a good omen for me. On the day she arrived, I made my first store front deal with Amazing Grains, an organic co-op in Grand Forks. I sold 'em over 3 pounds of shallots - it was so very exciting to see them on the shelf!
HoDo - On her final night in NoDak, I treated my wonderful intern to a fine meal at HoDo, a swanky restaurant in downtown Fargo that specializes in local, organic ingredients. (They've even got an herb garden on the roof.) Their menu states:
We thank the artisans, farmers, ranchers, beekeepers and other uncommon souls from the Red River Valley and beyond who enhance our table and the food we offer.
And I am still giggling at her offer, "You want more interns? I can send you my friends." Oh man, I could build an army of bright-eyed young folks who just might be able to turn this ship around before it hits that chemical-laden iceberg. I feel re-energized by Eleni's interest in this issue, like maybe I'm on the right track.
I asked her if the trip met her expectations. "It exceeded them, "she said. "Honestly, I thought I'd just be weeding in the garden 8 hrs. every day, being sweaty and dirty, but you had me doing so many different things!"
Whew! This was a relief to hear. I can't believe she thought that I'd have her travel 1,900 miles just for slave labor. Holy cow. No wonder no one else visits!
|Eleni's first farm sunset|