Cassandra Hotaling / Rutland Herald Scott Courcelle and Lindsay Arbuckle (left) and Sarah Heusner and Craig Maravich work in Alchemy Gardens in West Rutland during "Weed Dating" on Sunday.
WEST RUTLAND – In between rows of cabbage, Troy “Basil” Luther Sr. talked with a female.
The West Haven man’s hands were dirty and he could care less – he was comfortable.
Comfort is the key to a new trend called “weed dating,” during which people come together on a farm instead of at tables, to hoe and pull up purslane and witch grass and break the ice.
Wondering where or how to start up a conversation about interests has been taken out of the equation.
The weed dating this time, the third event of its kind in Vermont, was on a half-acre plot of land at Boardman Hill Farm in West Rutland.
The idea to flip speed dating into wee dating came from Wendy Palthey, farmer and co-owner of Tunbridge Hill Farm.
Palthey brought the idea to a meeting of the state’s organic farm network, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont.
The idea took off from there.
“Instead of sipping cosmos while chatting with your partner, you’ll be weeding a bed of vegetables or doing other similar, light labor,” according to a description of weed dating prepared by the farming group.
“We hope to not only ignite the flames of human companionship, but tighten the relationships between farmers and consumers as well.”
Lindsay Arbuckle and Scott Courcelle are already a match.
The couple own Pierce’s General Store in Shrewsbury and offered their small farm at Boardman Hill, called Alchemy Gardens, up to NOFA for Sunday’s seven-person weed dating.
“Just an hour of picking beans helped,” Arbuckle said. “Most people are saying it’s nice to do a little bit and meet other people.”
Down a desolate and rocky road and under a warm sun in vast green farmland on Sunday, couples weeded for a set amount of time, then switched partners and plots.
Corinne Almquist of Shoreham said meeting someone in church or at a bar doesn’t work for her.
“I don’t go to church. I’m more likely to meet someone outside doing something I love rather than a place that already makes me claustrophobic,” she said.
Pre-registration is required and donations are accepted.
The next weed-dating session is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 19 at Maplewood Organics in Highgate.
For more information, go to nofavt.org or call 434-4122.
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