No one expected the comforts of home. Yet I did hope for something a little more pleasing. A little more, what, pretty? Maybe rolling fields, a big red barn, rustic flavor in that roadside-farmstand, bed-and-breakfast kind of way? But on this organic farm in rural Western New York there are no gently weathered chairs, no flowerpots or drying herbs or other signs of country artifice, just ragged ground and barns held up, it seems, by air.

My husband and I, and our friends, have become comrades in community-supported agriculture, members of a farm co-op that requires an investment not only of money, but of time. And this is our first workday. At the meeting where we’d learned about the farm, heard what was required of us and what we’d get in return, I’d looked around the room and felt suddenly aware of my lipstick. We were upstairs in a Quaker… More…