Yesterday I bought shelled walnuts from a man with Einstein eyebrows.
"We crack them ourselves at the beginning of the season. It gives the year a rhythm." He smiled.
"But then I have them shelled for thirty cents a pound by machine. I pay the workers two dollars when they do it. To make it worth their while." He straightened a bag. "But the machine nicks them."
I couldn't see nicks. I was calculating how many walnuts I might shell in an hour; five pounds, six, eight? I doubted it.
It was a short conversation but had me wondering how much food is handled by machine and how much is managed by hand.
I heard a young farmer, a woman in her 20's, speak this weekend. She talked about the people that sweat and labor over the food we consume. She spoke of eating as a communion, creating the connection we have with the farms and the people in the fields as an intimate one.
She made me cry.
And appreciate the difference between hand and machine shelled walnuts all the more.