With apologies to the Beatles, the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, and the state of Vermont.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chapter Six: They Sell Food

     "Luna burst in and grinning a grin, she said, Danny boy, we've got a business..."

With two farm stands, things really took off.  The farm was now officially in its busy season.

Nancy and Cat kept the "Chthonic Baked Goods and Yggdrasil Cupcakes" stand flowing with breads and pastries, Sal and Dan began selling produce from the other stand, and Luna and Viv worked out in the farm's fields, doing the sowing and reaping.  Stan was helping out with a little of everything.  Often no one knew what he was doing.

"Wait," said one of Cat's customers, eyeing some of the sweet treats in front of her. "What do you mean there's no wheat or dairy or soy or sugar in the cupcakes?  What's in them?"

"It's a secret," Cat said.

"You can't tell me?" the woman asked.

"If I told you, I'd have to..." The customer gasped and Nancy stopped moving as Cat's voice dropped to a hoarse whisper. "...make you work here."

Dan was drowning in kale and collards and spinach and zucchini and peppers and onions and carrots and tomato and basil and several leafy greens that he couldn't identify.  Every so often Sal would have to pull him out from under a mound of various vegetables.

Even though they had done next to no publicity, the line of cars for the two stands now snaked down the road, backing up to the gas station and general store.  Fortunately one of their neighbors was also a regular customer.  He let them use the area at the end of his property as overflow parking.

"I come here everyday," one guy said, almost every day that he came there.

"It's one stop shopping," another of their happy customers proclaimed as she loaded up on baked goods and veggies.

Several customers wanted the recipe for Nancy's Raspberry Maple Walnut Bread.  "We should write a commune cookbook," she said to Cat.  "When we have any time..."  Cat didn't have a chance to reply because two young men were squabbling over the last of the carob mint cupcakes.

At night Luna and Dan counted up the money from the two stands.  "Hey," Luna said, "even including our food, water, and heating bills, and the electricity and the mortgage, we're still making enough money to give everybody a small allowance."

Everyone thought the allowance was a good idea, but no one had a chance to spend it. Each day, it was more crops, more vegetables, more baked goods, more sales, and more money. And lots and lots of work.

"Do you get a vacation when you work at a commune?" Cat asked Nancy as they were sweating in the kitchen, baking on a warm summer morning.

"Sure," said Nancy, wiping her brow.  "But I think we won't have time to have time off until October."

     "And we'll do better, even better, as soon as we're able..."

When Ralph and Ed turned up, a week later, on one of their periodic visits, they got pressed into service, carting vegetables from the fields to the farm stand.

"Where's Dan?"  Ed asked Sal when they got to the stand.

"I know I left him around here someplace," she said.  She looked around and saw a pile of eggplant moving ever so slightly.  She and Ralph reached in and extracted Dan from the pile.

"And where's Stan?" Ralph asked.

"Now that's a very good question," Sal said.

Viv and Luna were checking on the progress of some of the squashes.  None of them were quite mature but there were a lot of them on the way.

"I can't believe how fertile the soil here is," Viv said.

"I attribute it all to prayer--and horse manure from a riding ranch in the next town," Luna said.  "It's sort of the way that they did it at Hornfind in Scotland."

Just then Ed and Ralph came back with their carts.

"You got some more for us?" Ed asked.

"I think that's it for now," Luna said.

"Dan said we need more carrots and peppers.  He said they're about sold out."

"Sorry, but nothing else is ready."

"We're going to have to grow even more stuff next year," Viv said.

"Yeah," said Luna.  "Absolutely."  She pointed out to Viv and Ralph and Ed where she hoped the commune would have another field for vegetables, and where she planned to put in the apple, peach, walnut, and hazelnut trees, along with the strawberries, and raspberries, and high bush blueberries, and...

Dinner that night was real quiet.  Everyone, including Ralph and Ed, seemed to be too exhausted to talk.

Afterwards, when the meal was being cleared up and sleeping arrangements for the night were being figured out, there was a knock on the door.

Stan opened it.  Outside were the county sheriff and two deputies.

"Can we come in?"  the sheriff asked.

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