The Farm Prius

The Toyota Prius — a sensible family car

We own a Toyota Prius. We get around 42-44 mpg. We could do a little better, I’m sure, but I tend to drive a little fast. I also accelerate a bit too quickly.

We love our Prius. It’s roomy, and the ride is comfy. The GPS system is generally helpful when we’re in uncharted territory.

It’s not an SUV, but hey, split, fold-down rear seats — room for a young athlete and his gear or, in our case, a Patric and the jumbo Costco case of TP.

While the Prius does get its share of standard usage, commuting to work, grocery shopping, and the occasional road trip, there is another side to the Prius, the manly farm vehicle side.

farm car
The Farm Prius — a family car for less sensible families

Yes, I agree. The absurdity of it struck me today as we waited for supplies for the chickens at Hall’s in Collierville. What really got me was the beeping – the beeping and the thought, “surely not!” But no, it was. The guy was delivering our supplies on a forklift, ironically a Toyota forklift.

The guy who had been parked next to us in his Ford F-150 didn’t have his purchases delivered on a forklift. (Although Angela did think he got the better purchase today since his was a very chirpy box.)

The Hall’s worker who brought out our two bales of straw and 150 pounds of chicken feed and supplements was bemused. After I explained the easiest arrangement for loading everything, he had us ready to go in no time. Once we were all loaded up, we headed back to our 9-to-5 salaried professional desk jobs where we spent at least part of the afternoon wondering what co-workers passing by our car must think of us.

We’re not the only ones, though. Our good friend, Lori Greene, of Downing Hollow Farm is an honest to goodness farmer. Not only does she make her living off the land, she heads up a co-op of farmers in her area.

So when Lori came to a recent Slow Food Memphis meeting at the Memphis Botanic Garden to give a presentation on starting a garden, Patric and I volunteered to help her unload supplies from her manly farm vehicle. And what did we find waiting for us in the parking lot? A weathered gray Ford Taurus with a trunk full of potting mix, pots, seeds, and even a flat of tender young lettuce plants.

Farm Fluffy is ready to herd chickens.

Given this economy, it makes sense to maximize fuel efficiency. I know that our friend Michael Lenagar of Neola Farms bemoans the amount of gas his massive Dodge pickup uses, but he is pulling a freezer trailer or a trailer loaded with cattle. And when Lori comes to town to deliver CSA shares or to sell at the market, she drives her van. Still, it’s nice to have the option when it works for you.

I just wonder if those Toyota engineers gave any thought to all the nooks and crannies in a Prius where loose straw can collect.

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