Back in the day when I worked at Trillium we would often have lengthy many discussions on many different topics while we spend hour and hours weeding a bed of carrots. A common topic that would come up each year was the idea of farmer Olympics. We could compete see how fast we could weed or how fast we could put tomato stakes in the ground. Despite talking about this idea, we never took it to the next level. Another CSA farm, Green Wagon Farm, must have similar discussions in the field about farmer Olympics. The difference between us at Trillium and them is that they actually did something about all those ideas.
Last weekend the Blandford farm and 9 other local CSA farms in the area competed on teams of 4 in the first annual West Michigan Farmer Olympics. Alec, and I actually teamed up with two other farms with smaller crews to make up our team. We all met up at Green Wagon Farm last Saturday afternoon. There was an opening ceremony with a real torch and torch relay that lit the farmer Olympics bonfire. After the opening ceremony we began out first of five events.
The first event was turnip eating. We were given a basket of those purple top turnips that are in the share today. We ate them raw, this was not as bad as I first thought it might be, and took turns stuffing as many in our mouth as possible. The remaining turnips were weighed and after all the baskets were weighed out our team had won.
The next event was the tray carry. You know these black trays that we use to hold all the produce. We cart those crates around all the time and the competition was to see
how many we could carry. Alec took on this competition (he had been practicing). He also won this competition by lifting, carrying them 25 feet, 25 feet back, then setting them all down. This picture was early on with only 12 trays, but still impressive.
The next competition was a tractor pull. Everyone in
our team pulled a tractor 100 feet and the winning team was the one to pull it that distance in the shortest amount of time. We didn’t do as well in the one, in fact we got last place… This picture is not our team, but it will give you a good idea of what we had to do.
Next was potato beetle eradication. Well, we threw potatoes at a hanging picture of a potato beetle. It was an individual event and Alec wanted to do this one as well. He did well enough to get in first again.
The final event was a relay race. Two team members took turns running around their tomato patch. The baton was a chicken that we would hold while running. The two other members of our team was in the tomato patch throwing the rotten tomatoes at those running. Yes, I was a little concerned for the chickens, but they were troopers and while I was running it was totally chill in my arms. So don’t worry, no chickens were harmed in the process of this event. While I used to run in high school, that was a long time ago and running was must have been a least a quarter mile in hiking boots and with two beers in me did not go as well as I thought it would compared to track shorts guy in the picture. We still got 4th and lots of tomato stains.
After the events we all ate dinner with the food donated by the farms and cooked in a pit. You can see us digging the food out. There were coals below the food that cooked the food all day. It was delicious. We also had beer donated by brewery vivant and cider from People’s Cider. It was all very fun and the evening was capped off by a bonfire with some banjo and violin playing. We ended up getting second, it was the tractor pull that did us in.
It was great was a great time and I am glad greenwagon took this idea and did it. The last place team was given a golden pitchfork and it is their responsibility to host the games next year. So I am excited to see what events they will have and what fun we will have next year.