As we near the end of the growing season and approach the Thanksgiving holiday, it seems fitting to take a moment to reflect on the bounty and the beauty the farm has offered us this year.
This week as middle school students worked with us to cut, pull and drag tomato plants from the high tunnel, a few recalled that they had helped to seed those plants many months before. From those tiny seeds in their hands came thousands of pounds of tomatoes in every color, shape and size. And now they lie in a heap of tangled vines rotting back to the earth. It’s such a valuable lesson when students are able to experience the full circle of food production on the farm.
As elementary students returned to the farm this fall a number of students were thrilled to see a 50 foot bed of golden sunflowers blooming in front of the greenhouse. They had planted those tiny seedlings during farm camp in early August. Now as the plants die back we have cut the heads and are drying the seeds for bird food and to be saved for planting next year. This week we pulled the remaining plants and added them to the compost.
In these past few weeks students have been helping to bring in the final harvests for this year; from cutting broccoli sprouts to hauling in winter squash to picking Brussels sprouts. They have threshed and winnowed dry beans (always a favorite!). They’ve gathered chestnuts and pressed apple cider. They’ve dug potatoes, carrots and beets. Recently there has been a series of “tests” of our popcorn to see if it is good enough to sell. Turns out it is but there might not be much left to sell!
The children’s exposure to the science and labor and pleasure of growing food is so important. It is helping to create a deeper understanding of their world and that is certainly something we can all be grateful for.
Bob and I are grateful for so much as we look back at the year. We are grateful for many warm and sunny days that led to great crop yields and busy farmers markets. We are grateful for three hard-working, committed interns who worked beside us for most of the season. We are grateful for a new hoop house, a bottle-fed lamb, 6-pound sweet potatoes and a sweet new farm cart off Craigslist. We are thankful for the enthusiasm and inquisitiveness of the students and we are thankful for the teachers who encourage them to work hard, explore, contemplate, and connect to the farm. We love the work that we do here and consider it a great privilege to steward this land.
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.”