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Maple Lawn Farms “Lessons from Jury Duty”

White Nectarines are here, but are LIMITED in quantity and highly valuable. A delicious, early treat before peaches come in later this month. Get them with your blueberries in the market, if we have to save them, or on the trees if they hang well in this heat.

The Blueberries PRIME Right Now, White Nectarines in the farm market, MAYBE in the orchard.

Orchard & Market Hours: Blueberry Patch OPEN NOW 8AM-5PM

Weekly: Hours are Mon-Sat 8AM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

Winery Hours: Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

“Lessons from Jury Duty”

Jury duty for a farmer in July is ‘suboptimal’ to say the least. I thought I could get it delayed, but the insistent letters and ‘single deferment’ offered by the County, were indicating that I better just get it over with, so I was assigned this week for jury duty.

Don’t get me wrong, this is part of my civic duty. I believe in a jury of your peers and I’d want the chance to convince a jury of my innocence, rather than be at the mercy of a single, all-powerful judge. I’m not shirking my duty. It’s just a dreadfully inconvenient time!

Maize Quest opens in about 12 days for our summer groups. (Did you know we open in July and August for groups? ) Mulching, weeding, corn maze pathways are being cut, game stations are going in.

Blueberry season is upon us. We’re growing thousands and thousands of sunflowers and zinnias that need to be tended. peaches are coming. Wine is in the tank to be filtered and bottled.

Yep, the wrong season for this frenetic farmer to be forced into a room to what upon the slow wheels of justice to grind to a (very anti-climactic) finale. Yet there is nothing to be done but surrender one’s own wishes and serve the greater good. So as I was reading that book I’d been meaning to read for so long, I decided I could learn some lessons whilst locked in a room and waiting.

Lessons from Jury Duty

  • People are addicted to their phones, but when separated from them, and corralled, become surprisingly talkative. I, too, was wishing for my phone so I could continue working. However, once we were ALL parted from our devices, people loosened up and began conversing.
  • A common enemy is a good conversation starter. In any situation, you need something to kick-off the conversation, and a common enemy or frustration does the trick. We are all basically, restrained against our will by the judicial system. We ALL wanted to be somewhere else, and in that commonality, one finds a connection. I’ve been able to greet any fellow juror and strike up a conversation because we are ‘in it together.’
  • Juries are a fairly accurate cross-section of society. I’ve met a pharmacist, retiree, tree trimmer, scientist, elevator inspector, school principal, I’m the weird farmer, teachers, construction workers and more. If the goal is a ‘jury of your peers’ then the system does seem to be randomly selecting a diverse cross-section of occupations, religions, and races.
  • Freedom to choose is an inalienable right, built into all people. I was called in the elevator by a local community member “the most positive person he knows,” potentially the best compliment I’ve ever received, and even I feel totally trapped. We ALL felt trapped. This mild inconvenience is still a tiny restriction of freedom that we, as humans, universally resist.

After the 4th of July, this week of jury duty has reminded me that there is a cost to freedom – and this is NOWHERE CLOSE to the cost our servicemen and women pay each day to afford me the freedom and obligation to complete my week of jury duty.

So, I have another book and very low expectations for a thrilling Thursday in the courthouse. I do have the expectation that I will get to talk with someone else I would never have known, learn something else that I would not have learned, and connected with different people from a cross-section of society right here in my own county.

We all would want a jury of our peers if we needed to have our day in court. I looked around and thought, if we were more often put in a room with a cross-section of society without our phones to isolate us, maybe we’d need fewer juries altogether.

See you soon on the farm,


PS GOOD NEWS: Less than 1 month until Sunflowers!


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