My worst summer job

kelly rae nelson
You say potato I say tomatoe?

Do you remember what your worst summer job was? This topic was front and center recently since school is out for my boys. Although this little market we happened upon in Dallas was not exactly like my farmer’s market experience, all of the veggies lined up brought back some memories. 

 The one summer job that sticks out the most and ranked highest on the suck scale, was working at a farmer’s market. Oh calm down. This was not a hip, I need an Instagram picture of me at the farmer’s market, farmer’s market. This was before Instagram, cell phones and when “organic” meant dirt with animal doo doo in it, not trendy, healthy produce.

vegetables at the farmers market


white linen skirt

My father, bless his ruthless soul, got me this job. Incidentally, it involved getting up, during the summer, at 4:00 a.m. Now I grew up in Indiana, in the country, and had to drive a half hour in the morning darkness to get to this farm. Then when I got there at like 5 a.m., we loaded the box truck and pickup truck with wet, dirty produce boxes and bags.

The reason being, the actual farmer’s market was in Chicago and we had to drive there, which was about a 45 minute drive. Then as if loading weren’t fun enough, 45 minutes later we had to unload the boxes and bags of potatoes, onions, tomatoes, peppers, vegetables that I didn’t know what they were, watermelons, okra and what not.

Which, by the way, this farmer’s market was not the swanky Chicago Green City market. This market was on the near south side, like around 31st street. This is not where little white farmer girls have ever been. I mean talk about an eye opener.

produce and J crew

Due to the severity of the culture shock and my social anxiety disorder, I always volunteered to load, unload and restock.The idea of bartering with people over a single tomato while making change out of a little apron could definitely do me in. Hello, where is the calculator?

The funniest thing I will never, ever forget was the day I drove the pick up truck LOADED DOWN with watermelons. I am not even joking. The first stop sign I encountered was (praise the Lord) in the country so there were no cars. I was unaware that brakes do not work the same on an old truck with an extra million pounds of fruit in the back. Needless to say, I did not stop, even though both of my feet were pressing the break pedal as hard as my little high school self could.

Yes, I drove that pick up, loaded down with water-melòn, into Chicago. Pretty sure that took years off of my life. I figured out lightning fast about slowing down way in advance of red lights,people, cars and stop signs. 

In any case, I HATED that job. It was probably the tiredest I had ever been in my young life. However, it was a learning experience and I got out of my house. The house, which at the time, had my baby brothers and my annoying little sister in it. In retrospect, maybe it was actually the easy out. 

all watermelon eyes on me 🙂
farmer's market peaches
these peaches smelled delightful


summer job
Rubio’s in Dallas


Kelly Dorn Nelson

Enough about jobs and vegetables. Shop my outfit here: 

This skirt also comes in red and navy and these comfy wedges come in blue and beige. Click below.


*Coincidentally, my second worst summer job was mowing ditch banks at my dad’s farms. One day my brother drove past me and didn’t even realize it was me. Why? BECAUSE THAT’S HOW DIRTY I WAS. Unrecognizable. I also ran over a snake with the mower. Seriously, I think I cried because what is more sick? The question remains, how did I ever turn out so normal? 😉 







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