Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Pumpkin Buttermilk Bundt Cake and The Passage to Autumn at Restoration Farm

The autumnal equinox arrives with quiet luminance at Restoration Farm.  In a sense, the farm is like a lush, romantic landscape painting that evolves before our eyes.  The changes are subtle, but evident.   The growing season is reaching fruition.  
The colors of vegetables are richer and skins are firmer.  
The topography is changing.   In the fields, buff-colored Long Island cheese pumpkins dot the field.
Piles of wood chips, resembling a sand dune, have been left at Apple Trace for mulching the heirloom apple trees.   
Manure is piled high in the fields to nourish the soil for the next growing season.
The ubiquitous kale is still producing nutritious greens, but the plants now resemble tall palm trees.   
Canadian geese glide overhead.   One hears the soft sound of a nurturing melody carried on the morning breeze.  It is the gentle clucking of Donna Sinetar's growing brood of heritage laying hens.  The progression of weeds has begun to slow.  As always, there is evidence of people at work.   The berries have concluded and the bushes have been cut back to encourage new growth.     
Not all is bucolic.  Nature can deliver cruel blows.    The heritage meat bird program was cut short when a red fox quickly decimated the third batch of chicks – some thirty in all.  Two of the cows from the historic village got loose and damaged two of the saplings at Apple Trace.  
Glenn Aldridge's “Voodoo Garden,” an experimental edible garden, was attacked by ferocious pig weed in late summer that was so aggressive he simple couldn't tame it any longer.   But, even amidst the morass of weeds there is evidence of Glenn's labor and small, perfectly shaped pie pumpkins are spotted. 
Each season adds perspective at the farm.  Insights emerge from heartbreak and disappointment, and we try once again.
The passage to autumn is a moment to celebrate the journey we've shared together and the ripening of the growing season.   Dinner in the field brings you closest to the food and the community.  At the annual autumn equinox potluck, we celebrate a thriving farm and community that is cultivating life, no matter the obstacles.
I bring an iconic autumn dessert to the meal that to me symbolizes the fullness of the autumn season.   A pumpkin buttermilk spice cake is a sweet finish to the fall banquet and a harbinger of autumn and winter celebrations to come.  
At the meal, we honor the farmers, the members, the volunteers and all their contributions.  We celebrate the successes, the heartaches, and of course the food of Restoration Farm.   
It is a fine celebration - filled with good food, fiddle music, friends and family - but there is wistfulness as well, as we know that soon the farm will sleep and this growing season will be but a memory.   
©2012 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Gloria Baker said...

absolutely nice pictures I loved them , and what nice pumpkin cake:)

Unknown said...

Probably the nicest potluck yet! Everything was perfect" the weather, company, food, music, sunlight and that surprise visit by that enormous hawk.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Looks like quite the feast, and a lovely celebration of another growing season. And a perfect, sunny day! Now, how about the recipe for the pumpkin Bundt cake?

~~louise~~ said...

I've been holding onto Summer as long as possible, T.W. Yet I know it is time to let go. Your post is a gentle reminder of nature's bounties but as in each season, a fresh day is on the horizon.

Thank you so much for sharing your fruitful times at Restoration Farm. I know there is still lots to do...

On the bright side, Katie's daughter's cow had a calf yesterday and I got to visit mother and child not even 2 hours after it was born:)

P.S. Hope your hiking trip was amazing!!!

tasteofbeirut said...

sounds like a happy community too, with good folks, good food love that cake and having the best of both worlds, the big city and the farm wow

Velva said...

I enjoy the journey through the farm. Sorry to read that there were a few cahllenges with the farm this past season.

Welcome to Autumn!

Mary Bergfeld said...

It is hard to see the fields go to rest for the winter, but your experience at the farm will allow you continue to grow as the they sleep. The values of friendship and hard work are hard to beat. The cake looks wonderful. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Anonymous said...

A stunning & very festive appetizing spiced pumpkin buttermilk cake! I love Martha's recipe a lot! So good, so tasty looking too! A must make!!

I hope you had a wonderful trip hiking!!

Your Fall pics at Restoration Farm look lovely, cosy & what a lovely produce too!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a fabulous potluck. Looks like a great get-together with friends. Sorry to hear about the fox and the cows. Every once in a while a cow escapes here and he (or she) will just stand in the middle of the road like a stone, with a lost look, waiting for someone to take him home.
Fourth try with the thingy below....

Deana Sidney said...

Whenever I read your farm posts I always get a warm cosy feeling... like all is right with the world. Gorgeous cake and beautiful words. I wish the world could be more like that farm.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Farming is not without its trials and tribulations but so worth it during harvest time, and it is even more rewarding when you can share it with a good group of friends. Love that picture of the sugar pumpkin.

Catherine said...

Dear T.W., Welcome back!! You sound melancholy. It sounds like a beautiful place to work hard and feel good about your muscles aching. It farm looks beautiful. The food looks delicious. The people look friendly and like minded about this journey. I understand the pang of putting it all to rest for the winter.
What a beautiful celebration of fall.
Blessings dear local friend. Catherine

Rosita Vargas said...

Lindo post de campo me gustan los productos frescos y tradicionales te invito a mi cocina,abrazos hugs,hugs.

Kat said...

Looks like so much fun....I can smell that pumpkin cake right now! What a wonderful part of your life this has become!