Thursday, November 25, 2010

Farmers' Holiday

The sky shimmers pearly grey as I approach the distribution tent at Restoration Farm. It is uncharacteristically warm for late November, as if the growing season of 2010 is trying to squeeze in just a few more hours of productivity.

The head growers have prepared a bonus distribution of vegetables – a final, Thanksgiving harvest for members already signed up for 2011. I can only gape, astonished, at the endless banquet table, groaning with a medley of autumn vegetables - red and green cabbage the size of soccer balls, golden beets as big as baseballs, fat leeks, and clumps of chubby crooked carrots.

The butternut squash has been prolific – not one, but two?

And of course, there are always vibrant, life-giving greens.  

The farmers – our farmers – Dan and Caroline seem happy and content. The pace at Restoration Farm will slow… for a time.

I stop to chat, but this is not the usual relaxed weekend distribution. Within minutes, a drove of members flood the tent with recyclable bags in hand. It is as though someone has just convened a frenetic harvest square dance. People gather their produce with a sense of efficiency and purpose. There are still pies to be baked. I jump into line and get with the business of gathering and weighing.

Last spring these vegetables were tiny seeds, pushed into the soil by index fingers caked in dirt.  Such potential now fulfilled, but it required an investment - sun, sweat, collaboration, water, weeding and a nurturing community.   
Such dividends are found in every bite – brilliant color, variety, flavor and nourishment for the body and the spirit - satisfying our hunger, stocking our freezers, and filling our lives.

As the butternut squash puree, the green bean casserole, the beet salad and the pumpkin bread are placed on the table on this day of Thanksgiving - and passed between friends and family - there is reason to smile. We all share in the farm this day.

Happy Thanksgiving!
©2010 T.W. Barritt all Rights Reserved


~amusette~* said...

It really is a Farmers' Holiday. So much abundance from human hands in combination with the earth and sun is truly something to be cherished and celebrated. And to do it in a way which nurtures and respects the environment makes it doubly so.
Thanks for sharing the activities surrounding the Restoration Farm throughout the year ... both in the field and in your delicious kitchen !

Happy Thanksgiving !

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Love the title of this post. Thanksgiving is all about the farmers and giving thanks. Enjoy your bounty.

Happy Thanksgiving T.W.

Rosemary Flannery said...

These vegetables look delectable. I'm sure you're going to miss this fresh food over the winter, but it will be something to look forward to in the Spring. Have a great holiday!

tasteofbeirut said...

You write this and I am struck by the miraculous process: a tiny seed in the ground and we get this !
Amazing !
OH it looks cold out there but so much fun to hurry and grab the last veggies for Thanksgiving;
Happy T to you and your family

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Amusette - this has been quite the year! I hope you're doing well!

Sam - it is amazing what they do. Happy Thanksgiving!

Rosemary - We got two heads of lettuce as well, so I was "thankful" for my salad spinner!

J - I am awestruck by those tiny seeds and the wealth they produce! Happy Thanksgiving!

Mary said...

Thanksgiving is a celebration of abundance. You are so fortunate to have Restoration Farms at hand. The hunting and gathering are part of the holiday and it looks like your farmers have made it a social affair as well. Have a wonderful holiday and enjoy all that gorgeous produce. Blessings...Mary

Fresh Local and Best said...

Happy Thanksgiving TW! It is amazing how much can become of a seed over the span of a short year.

lostpastremembered said...

Happy thanksgiving, TW!!! I think farmers are heroic. That they can keep up the pace spring through fall is remarkable. We should all give thanks to our farmers and their dedication. Food tastes better when you see where it comes from and what goes into it, don't you think??

Velva said...

This is beautiful. YOu know by now, that I love these posts. What a bounty of goodness.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

We're thankful that you've shared Restoration Farm with all of us during the growing season. There's nothing more satisfying than sharing the food you have nurtured. I hope your family enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Ir's such a pity that so many "city folk" think vegetables come from grocery stores. They are really missing out on seeing WHERE and HOW good produce comes from. What a beautiful banquet of Mother Nature's gifts these are! I'm sad that my local farm stand is closing very soon.

Barbara said...

When I had a garden years ago, it was such a joy to watch seedlings grow and eventually make it to our table. And isn't that what Thanksgiving means? Giving thanks for the bounty of the earth.
I wish we had a Restoration Farm in our area.
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, T.W.!