The rain returned at the close of last week making for a cool and wet market last Thursday and putting a damper on a farm visit from some Portland folk. Still, as I walked out into that rain Friday morning to harvest tomatoes for our restaurant and store orders as well as the long awaited pumpkin and first winter squash harvests, I couldn’t help but notice how nice it actually was to work in that warm wet weather. The smell of the moist earth was incredible, and the overcast colors of grey and blue seemed to bring out the deepness of all the greens that line the field in our fall plantings. It was refreshing and beautiful. The first fire was lit in the woodstove, and that familiar smell was just as warming as the heat of the wood burning itself. When a season changes, it is always so welcome. It is as if the trees and I are both ready to change our attire, although they decide to throw off their clothes while I begin to cover up. But the excitement, the readiness, encompasses more than just the changing scenery. It is the mood, the feeling of things, that changes as well.
So we welcomed the rain, and we certainly let it soak into our skins since we had a lot of harvesting to do this weekend. Just as the colors of clouds made the coming crops look refreshing and full of life, as we picked clean the tomatoes this weekend, that same gray sky made the summer plants, on their way out the door for the year, look more yellowed, more withered. Just like that, after swimming in these crops with no end in sight, a shift to cooler nights and shorter days, and the leaves begin to yellow and the setting of fruit and rapid maturing of fruit finally slows down. Thankfully, we had planned for our yearly salsa making party for this weekend. If we had sold this weekends harvest without getting this done, we might not have had another large tomato harvest to get it done with. Time will tell since there are still a whole host of green and beginning to turn tomatoes still on the vines. Nevertheless, it won’t be the same…it won’t be 300lbs a week of red globes and ovals and puckered face uglies in and out of harvest crates and our hands anymore. And this is just as welcome as the changing temperature.
By the end of summer, I for one am always ready to be done with tomatoes; tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers too. This year I will have to add green peppers to that bunch. Give me the slow and methodical harvesting of greens and roots and a dip into the stored winter squash (delicious!)–I am ready!
All of this said, there is one aspect of this changing season that is a little sad. The end of market this week and the end of our main CSA season also means the end of seeing some of you every week..the end of being part of your food chain. Many of you have been a great source of friendly advice and supportive encouragement from day one when our farm began this journey of community supported farming. We will miss feeding your families, and look forward to next year when the planet tilts back the other way and we can connect again.
On the bright side, the thought of the end of deliveries is something that brings our family and the farm’s pocketbook a big sigh of relief. We are very excited about seeing you all here at the farm soon and about the many benefits the CSA will garner from this big change. We also will be welcoming some new people into the CSA for the fall/winter season, some regular market goers who will now get to continue eating fresh, healthy, locally grown food!
So as it is with any change, there is the looking forward to, the freshness of the new thing, as well as the reminiscing, the looking back and longing for what is left behind. Luckily, when we are only talking about the seasons changing, we are on a path that circles back around on itself in a timely manner. We will find ourselves right back here having gone through another summer of growing in what will seem like the blink of an eye if we aren’t careful! So on into the fall we go, arms open wide to catch the coolness on our skin, the rain in our fingers, washing away the busyness and the dry dirt to put on our dress of thicker quilts and woolen socks, stretching out to lay before the warm fire instead of working through the day under the hot sun! On the cusp of all of this, nothing sounds better in all the world.