Kate Kirby, 26 

Word & Image

I tell my dad all the time: "Don't think I'm going to become the produce princess."

I've been working the stand since I was 6. I'm 26 now. We've always been organic farmers because pesticides cost too much, flat-out. Plus, when people come to a produce stand, they expect it to be organic.

This is our high season. It's all centered around July Fourth because that's the biggest cookout day of the year. That's when everybody wants corn and tomatoes and everything else. My biggest crowd comes from the depot down the street. They head home, and it doesn't matter if they even live the other way, it's right here.

Everybody's screaming for kale. I had a guy who wanted the whole crate. Smooth kale cooks down easy. We have snow-crab legs, too. Dad cooks them. Once they've cooled off, I hurry up and bag them. Usually nothing makes it past a day and a half because we sell out of them.

I took off the month of June so I could do this and get everything straight. Once the stand opens June 1, it's all over. I'm here 12-hour days, seven days a week. And when I go flying, I go for two or three day trips once a week. I go everywhere. Latin America is my favorite. Time is cheap. They've got all the time in the world. Some of the country is beautiful. A lot is extremely ugly.

I've flown as a flight attendant with Continental since '97. As far as weird, strange stuff happening, I've had it all. I had a German guy demand that I be married to him in-flight. The captain was to come out the cockpit to marry us. I had served him one Jack Daniels and Coke. I don't care what they say about altitude affecting alcohol consumption, there is no way in hell that guy had gotten that drunk, that fast.

Both of my shoulders are tattooed. I actually wore my [flight attendant's] shirt jacket in so we could measure down how far the tattoo could go. On my back is a Japanese dragon. It took 29 hours.

People come to the stand and they see my tattoos and see me with my hair pulled up — I walk around barefoot. They don't know what to think. One woman already had me classified. She was talking about her daughter's yacht and how good her husband was doing. And she said: "That must be really hard for you having to earn a living like this." And I said: "I don't mind making 10 grand in four weeks." There's big business in produce.


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