The Dirt on the Farm: Falling into Fall

 

According to the calendar, we have transitioned into an new season. Fall is upon us. The fields have shifted into their new wardrobe, shedding the summer crops like cucumbers and zucchini. The corn and tomatoes have been emptied of their fruit and grain and await winter tilling and field prepping. This year, the peppers and eggplant didn’t have much of a life, yielding poorly or not at all, but the brussel sprouts popped out early. If all goes well, we will have a new fall offering called flower sprouts; a combination of brussel sprouts and kale! The sweet potatoes are nearly ready to dig and begin their month long curing process, and the winter squash is all coming in now. Watch for bigger variety of fall greens to appear, like spinach, arugula, mustards, brccoli rabe, and sorrel, in addition to things like radish and colored cauliflower. So, although many things have already come to an end this year, we still have plenty of bounty to be grateful for.

Historically, Autumnal Equinox was celebrated as the 2nd of three harvest celebration each year. This was when the sun was recognized for all he gave for the season and remembering that his death was drawing near. It was a time to finish up any old business that still needed tending, as cold winter lingered nearby. Gathering, storing, and preparing for winter would be the main focus for the remainder of the season. Yet, awareness of balance between work and rest is demonstrated by Mother Earth as once again daylight hours match night time hours. But, most importantly, this is, and was always, the gratitude season. We remember what we have and what is important to us.

As we shift into a new season here at the farm we are doing many of the same things done by generations past. My kitchen is full of the seasons bounty, cut, cleaned, and canned or frozen for later use this winter. Our barn and greenhouse is full of onions, garlic, squash, etc that are curing and storing for late season offerings. The fields are covered with row covers to extend the life of our plants as longs as possible. At the same time the crew becomes almost nostalgic about recognizing the joys of this years experiences together. There are more and more excuses to get together and share meals and celebrate the abundance in our lives and on this farm. And, everyone starts bringing yummy, gooey, sweet, rich, food to share as we instinctively feel the need to fatten up for the long cold ahead.

As you prepare for winter in your life, be it closer to our ancestors agrarian lives or with a more citified flair, may you remember what you love, be grateful for what you have, and eat well no matter what. Happy Fall everyone.