Monday, February 1, 2010

Organic Inspection

Twice (or so) a year, the folks from Lacon come to inspect my books, field, and store-room and check that I’m being a good girl with respect to practising organic cultivation of the land.

They phoned me last week and made an appointment for today, Monday, at nine o’clock, so after dropping off the Big Ones at school, I raced through my weekly shop at Papantonio’s supermarket, tore down to the Kato Paphos post-office (where we collect our mail) to pick up something that had come by DataPost, then raced up to the Main Post Office in Anavargos – all the way up the other side of town – when the lady at Kato Paphos said that DataPost was held there, then charged back home on the motorway to arrive in the nick of time for our appointment.

Forty-five minutes later, I was still waiting. Livid, needless to say. I had left other jobs in town undone, so I could get there on time for the Laconeers, and their tardiness meant another trip back later in the day or later in the week and possibly a bounced cheque as I hadn’t been able to get to the bank in time. Banks and most shops aren’t open when I’m in town in the morning (0730 on the school run), and in the afternoon, bank and PO are closed and I’m chasing from pillar to post with the children, so often don’t have time for errands.

Anyway, the Laconeers arrived at about ten minutes to ten and after reprimanding them in Greek – the inspection is always in Greek, which is good practice for me – we settled down for two hours’ work.

Imagine this:

Laconeers: So, how many carrots have you planted since last September?
Asproulla: According to records, six packets of seeds – four in the months before January, and two in the last month.
Laconeers: And how many bunches of carrots would that give?

Well, of course I keep records and of course I write invoices – but we eat, too, and I give a lot of stuff away… So I pulled some figure out of my experienced imagination that seemed about right. Then…

Laconeers: So how many carrots will you be planting before, say, May?
Asproulla: I’ll be planting a gram and a half of carrot seed every three weeks until I run out of space – say another six grams of seed, which should yield me thirty bunches per gram…

Then we came to the cauliflower.

Laconeers: How many cauliflowers did you plant last season?
Asproulla: Seventy-six.
Laconeers: And do you sell these by the piece or by the kilo?
Asproulla: By the kilo.
Laconeers: And how much did each weigh?
Asproulla: On average each weighed a kilo.
Laconeers: OK. Lets look back through your invoice books and count how many kilos of cauliflower you have invoiced!

So we looked back over the invoice books, deducted some kilos for destroyed plants. Deducted more for caulis that we ate or that we gave away, and came up with about 50 kilos – so I was twenty six kilos of cauliflower short.

Laconeers: So where did these extra cauliflowers go?

No, I don’t know – but at least the error was on the good side. If I had sold 26 kilos of cauliflowers that I had never claimed to have grown, I would have been in trouble…

It’s all fun, down on the farm!

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