Weed Dating: What On Earth?
The rugged, outdoor type gets silently down on one knee. With sleeves rolled up and hands that denote signs of hard, honest labor, he utters with genuine sincerity the six little words every woman on the planet so desperately wants to hear:
“What can I do to help?”
In a subdued show of humility, he kneels beside her and bows his head, raising hopeful eyes for a brief moment, as if asking the unspoken question, “How do you like me so far?”
No, it’s not a segment from a romance novel.
This, friends, is weed dating, one of the freshest new ways to find yourself what could be the perfect match.
Throw this relatively new term around, and a multitude of cannabis quips magically appear. Be assured, weed-dating veterans have heard it already. When the smoke clears, there remains an informal approach to finding one’s life partner or at the very least, a way to do a good deed for a local farmer.
Hippie-chic human-powered Earthly Delights Farm in Boise scooped up the Vermont-originated idea, running with it for the first time two years ago. The farm has been getting a lot of attention for its now secondary crop of growing relationships.
Last summer, owner Casey O’Leary (a contributor to Edible Idaho South magazine) and her interns went to work, stuffing Mason jars with veggie-themed notes in advance for willing weeders, assuring displays of affection for all. Any Mason jar messages beyond those planted would have to come from other interested weed-pullers.
“You were ‘radishing’ this evening,”read one pre-printed message.
“Local food can use as much…sexiness…as it can get a hold of,” O’Leary explains.
The small urban farm, located in northwest Boise, has the system down. Ladies get their own row to work in while the men rotate, spending time in the patch with each potential match. For three whole minutes, that is.
Is that enough time?
“Absolutely not,”says O’Leary, in reference to an extensive love connection assessment.
The question was asked, “What do you do if two people aren’t clicking?”
“Nothing at all,”the farmer grins, “They’ll probably get more weeding done.”
When one weeder is really into another, she discloses, is when things can get complicated.
“Last year when the bell rung and it was time to move on, one guy refused to leave the row,”laughed O’Leary, “He stayed with the same girl for three rotations and wouldn’t budge. The girl was kind of like, ‘Um’…”
Green poster board hearts attached to shovels stood upright in the dirt, festively lining the entrance to Earthly Delights on Hawthorne Street, prompting smiles from jittery pre-weeders.
Lending support in liquid form, Payette Brewing Company of Boise set up shop well before the first rotation, affording those needing to loosen up a mellowing out method. Sometimes a chance at love takes all the bravery one can muster. In the case of weed dating, there are sure to be some casualties.
“We lost our spinach seed crop last year,”shares farmer O’Leary, “All of it. It was all gone,”she said, pseudo-ruefully. “It’s okay,”she adds, “It was hilarious.”
This year, O’Leary and her crew of interns stood near rows, readily available to help participants discern the weeds from the keepers, something they’re doing on a larger scale, anyway. A given: weeders generally aren’t suffering from back and/or neck issues, and appear at first blush to be in fairly good health. It’s also somewhat safe to assume they’re not opposed to spending time out of doors nor are they afraid to get their mitts dirty.
This years’skill level among the male species was remarkably high, with a surprising lack of cheesiness. Overheard from the beet section, some of it was downright impressive. A tanned, blond, athletic-looking weeder was asked what he’d learned from nature, and effortlessly gave a moving essay on the classic rose. Stating its unending beauty, he also expounded the grand flower’s strength then ended with a flourish, comparing its exquisiteness to that of a woman.
And, on the opposite end of the scale…
“Tell me about yourself,”one polite female said.
“I like stuff,”the male countered, “I like to do stuff,” he paused, perhaps gathering a deeper thought, “I’m really into a lot of stuff.”
“That’s the best you can do?” the woman asked, followed by a definite lull in conversation as the nearby others of her gender inwardly booed his apparent lack of effort and creativity.
With an age range of anywhere from 21 to 73, some pair-ups are, quite obviously, not ever going to become a match. In that case, the three minute block is a respite for both, time to ponder, re-group, and re-energize before diving back in.
While a lifelong love may have been found (or not) during this year’s Earthly Delights event, there’s one sure thing: Casey O’Leary is happy either way.
“The idea of being crouched down with somebody on a highly diversified, human-powered farm, that’s totally unique. I think that human energy makes a difference. I’ll do this for as long as I have a farm and people that want to show up.”
“It’s great,” she adds, “to have the help. Hopefully you’ll meet somebody or some people that are interesting to you, and that you end up hanging out with. Even if you don’t, you still ended up helping out a small local farm, which is,” she says, getting to the bottom line, “pretty sweet."