Here’s how it works: Each of the ladies will be assigned to a specific row, with more instructions to follow after “we get you into the beds,” O’Leary said, prompting nervous snickers that erupted into laughter as the tension eased. The women were given a crash course in how to identify a weed versus a vegetable or fruit, and then instructed to pass that information along to the men, who rotated from each bed every three minutes.
“Please don’t pull out our crops. This is a working farm,” O’Leary said before sending them off.
With the dating in full swing, O’Leary moved between the neat rows of lettuce, strawberries, eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes. She said she likes the idea of helping gardeners and people with similar interests find each other. But seeing people weed her farm is also nice.”I’m not a hookup coach, I’m a farmer,” O’Leary said, her sinewy hands and dirt-incrusted fingernails proving her point.Amy Johnson, a Spanish elementary school teacher, heard about the event last year but couldn’t make it.
“It’s one of those life experiences that I might not always be able to get so why not take advantage of it this year?” Johnson said. “I’m not much into dating, like speed dating or like, online dating. But it’s always fun to meet new people.”Weeding is actually one her favorite activities, she said, adding: “Last year I was joking that if I would have weeded with my ex-boyfriend, we probably would have never gotten together … He was not a very good weeder.”Brian Cox, an artist and musician, came looking for a new way to meet people.
“The typical speed dating, it’s just kind of awkward,” Cox said. “But this is just beautiful, because it’s like outside, it’s very organic. Literally.”
Joe DeGano, a sales and marketing manager for a company that manufactures clutch components for motorcycles, said he was there “to meet chicks, to fall in love.”
But for the more-reserved, the farm provided numbered mason jars that corresponded with the numbers assigned to each participant, just in case any of the weed daters were too shy to approach someone directly and wanted to instead leave a note.
That was how Peraino, an intern at the farm last year, communicated with a woman named Jenn at last year’s event.
He described himself as somewhat shy, but at weed dating he found himself surrounded by people with similar interests. There were activists, gardeners, and outdoor enthusiasts.
“What I find is if you go to bars, you don’t really know what people’s interests are,” he said. “You can’t really walk into a bar and complain about climate change or peak oil without having people look at you weird. That would probably scare off a lot of people.”