Thursday, September 19, 2013

On this harvest moon...

September... the peak of summer's bounty.

The full moon closest to the autumn equinox is known as the "Harvest Moon" because its light has traditionally helped farmers gather their abundant harvest into the night.

There is that sad moment you know that summer is slipping into fall.  That tragically beautiful hour that you feel winter's chill creep in sometime in the early evening one night, and the next morning you realize that all the plants in the field feel it too.  The grand race to ripen before the cruel frost replaces summer's kind warmth.  Even the grasshoppers, the butterflies, and the mourning doves know it.  Even the fungus on the squash leaves, the disease on the tomatoes.  Everything alive quickens its pace, soaking up every ounce of a sunny day, holding on through the chilly nights, the inevitable slowing toward winter.  Last chance, its now or never.  And now: it's tomatoes!


We pick as fast as possible.  The bins of food we harvest get heavier and heavier.  September makes my back ache. 

We strategize.  We pick almost every day now.

We haul loaded wagons of veggies in the from the fields.


We wash in tubs of cold water that make our fingers numb.

The Native Americans have called this time the "Corn Moon" as well, so I guess it's appropriate that we had such a great run of sweet corn this month!  We were able to give a solid two weeks of delicious organic ears of sweet corn to our CSA members, and even have a little "bonus" pick this week too.  So tasty!  I like to snack on it raw in the fields of course.


 As I cultivated the fall lettuce, carrots, and beets, I had an almost bittersweet feeling that it was the last time we'd be doing it this season!  Oh, how I do love when the soil is at the right moisture, and it just crumbles and flows through the cultivators.  Like the satisfaction of brushing your hair, or maybe a big Zen garden, full of carrots and sunlight and life.

The bittersweet feeling of fall is that much more poignant right now because we are leaving these fields.  Five years of growing vegetables and flowers and cover crops on this soil.  Five summers of plowing, planting, weeding, irrigating, and harvesting.  We will mourn for the loss of this place and be grateful for the years we spent there.  But saying goodbye to things is natural, just like the frost takes the summer crops back every year, and the snow blankets the land, clearing the slate for next year.

But the green and the warmth always comes back in the spring!

And we've found a new place to farm!  Just five minutes up the hill.  A very special place.

We will be right down the road from Ganondagon, the historic site of a flourishing Native American community.  I believe this is a really good sign, because the Native Americans cultivated lots of corn and other crops to sustain themselves, possibly in the very fields we will be working!  We are also right around the corner from The Apple Farm, a great U-Pick family operation, stop by for hot cider and donuts this fall!  Our new landlord has been a CSA member for years, and is really wonderful!  What amazing luck.

The soil on our new fields is a rich silt loam, with small rolling hills throughout.  It is more quiet and surrounded by more farms than developments.  It will take a lot of work to move the farm, and we hope to get a lot done this fall.  Can't wait to get started.

A new beginning.  We will be asking for help!


Pam Gardner said...

so happy you have this wonderful new land-I know right where it is!
Pam Gardner (CSA member)

I think the new location bodes well.

Suzanne Farrell said...

To everything... turn, turn, turn...there is a season turn, turn turn

Diane & Karen said...

Erin, We are SO happy that you have found such a great place to be your new farm!! Wow. That's terrific news. Good luck!
Diane & Karen