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Harvesters of Cape Cod

John Greiner-Ferris | Massachusetts, United States

“I was in a 32-year organic rut,” says David DeWitt, owner of Dave’s Greens, in Truro. For all of those years, DeWitt was practicing organic farming the way he was taught as a student at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California. Then a few years ago at a conference on growing cannabis in California, he was exposed to Korean Natural Farming (KNF), a way of farming that looks at the entire farm holistically. Now, the former site of Rock Spray Nursery, which DeWitt transitioned into vegetable farming in 2012, is undergoing a transformation, literally from the ground up.

These spotlights are of four individual, independent harvesters who grow and bring us our food on Cape Cod. Different experiences led me to them. I saw the cross-hatches of an oyster farm interrupting an otherwise empty intertidal landscape, and realized I had no idea how an oyster was raised. I watched a lobster boat, so tiny in scale, steam parallel to the distant horizon, regal in its detachment and aloneness from where I stood and wished I were on deck. A meal of a simple salad of greens or pasta, cooked with fresh local ingredients, set before me delivered a visual and flavorful experience unheard of with grocery store fare.

All four harvesters share a love for Cape Cod, a personal standard for healthy food, and the joy at being out in nature while they work. They can’t imagine doing anything else.

The following in no way fully describes these people’s lives. Rather, they are meant as a reminder, when we shop or partake at a restaurant, that what we eat extends far beyond the kitchen, the delivery truck, our plate.

Portions of this story originally  appeared in Edible Cape Cod

For years I worked as a corporate and freelance photographer/writer. In 2007 I inexplicably put down the camera—these things sometimes happen in the arts, these unexplained long-term departures. During my hiatus I dedicated myself fully to the theater: earning my MFA in playwriting, forming two theater companies, fundraising, sweeping the stage. (I co-founded Boston Public Works Theater Company and am the founding artistic director at Alley Cat Theater.) Then at a residency in Vermont in January 2017 while working on a play, just as inexplicably, I again picked up the camera and picked up where I left off.

I am not interested in the mainstream. What attracts me is the beauty of the places and things that others overlook. That others choose to overlook. Because they're too busy, too distracted by society and expectations and what they are told they should pay attention to. Nature is almost always the common element.

www.johngreinerferrisstudio.com/contact.html

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