The Badger Report
Missives from the open roads of the San Luis Valley
Greetings fellow locavores, foodies, farmers and otherwise earthy folk! Many of y’all may know me...those of you on the West end of the Valley more likely know my dad. Even more of you—perhaps without knowing it—have been under the care of my mom...but that’s another story. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Jesse Marchildon, but...you can call me Badger. I work the little seen and not-so-glamorous trade of local food aggregation and delivery at the Valley Roots Food Hub, and have been since April of this year. It may not keep up with the Kardashians, but I gotta say, I love it. Much of my day I roam the Valley in my fickle steed, Brother Bear, gathering the bounty of our local agricultural producers to help get it to you, my fellow eaters and connoisseurs of the Valley terroir. The rest of the day I work tirelessly with my fellow mycelial conspirators to organize dozens of wholesale orders and hundreds of CSAs onto their pallets and into their respective boxes so that it can find its way to restaurants, buyers clubs, grocery stores and to your doorstep. Tonight. Or, maybe tomorrow morning...It all depends on which pieces of the puzzle need to go where and how many cases of beets and bags of flour we can stuff into Brother Bear and Sherpa and who’s had enough coffee to make it 13+ hours on the shift. Needless to say, it’s a passion project. This ain’t no get-rich-quick scheme. The hours and miles ain’t for the faint of heart, and first glance at a pick-list is dizzying.
The ample windshield time, for me, though, offers its own bounty. I get to feel the pulse of the Valley. I watched the clearing and preparation of the fields, saw the sprinklers creak and sputter into motion, bringing the lifeblood to parched soils. I’ve guessed at the little orange, red, blue, yellow landscaping flags peppered in neat rectangles nested within circles, wondering at which crop experiments are happening this year. I watch the seasonal and holiday ebb and flow of traffic entering our sleepy little towns, I feel the frustration and appreciation of roadwork. “Curses! I’m late!”...but...”Without roads, we couldn’t feed the people.” Patience. Gratitude. I witness reckless drivers, stories I would rather not tell my fiancée. Buckle up. Be vigilant. I think, listening to podcasts, the last bastion of real public discourse and deep thought in our culture. I marvel at and grieve the suffering and confusion in today’s world, while always envisioning the better future for my children. With gratitude for my ancestors.
I am a student of anthropology and ecology, a chicken farmer, a mediocre gardener, and a drivers-seat philosopher. This windshield affords me an interesting frame on the world, and I hope to share it with you, dear cook, gardener, eater. Expect from this report updates on the traffic and weather, personal musings, pictures of plants, fields, goats and cute dogs, profiles of producers, and of my fellow mycelial conspirators who hustle to bring you our wares, and sundry ideas as the mood strikes me. It’s a beautiful, dangerous road out there, my friends...and I’m proud to travel it, bringing quality foods from Your Neighbors to You. Buckle up, it’s gonna be quite a ride.
With love and humor,