Sunday, November 04, 2012

Harvesting Life at Restoration Farm

The morning dawns through silver mist at Restoration Farm.   Before the sun has burned through and stretched into the sky, human hands are already harvesting cabbage and kale, and counting sweet potatoes and butternut squash to divided among members.  It is the final spurt of growth.  Shortly, the 2012 growing season will draw to a close.  
The annual growing season passes all too quickly.   While the fields burst with life, the season feels timeless.  And then, it is done.   At the end, we fondly remember the meals, the beauty and flavor of freshly picked vegetables, the friendships, the conversations, the successes, the mishaps and the life that happened along the way.  
As is my custom on this day, I set out into the fields for a final look.   Steam rises off manure that sits in wait to nourish the soil. 
Some of those hills of “fertilizer” are already sprouting new life.
Up above Williams Field, I encounter Jay Mussman and George Garbarini doing clean up chores.     George has discovered dozens of overlooked flat beans still growing on the vines.  Even though the calendar says the growing season has concluded, there is still plenty of life to be harvested in the fields.  
Jay calls down to Dan Holmes to bring baskets for harvesting the beans.  We snack on handfuls right in the field.  The fresh, crisp taste is incredibly sweet.   Somehow that brief moment – sharing fresh beans in the dew-soaked field – stays in my memory more vividly than most of the events of the past week.  
At the distribution tent, Leslie Steinman places an overstuffed bucket of emerald green kale on the table.  
Even as the farm anticipates a brief time of slumber, the bounty is staggering.   There are rows of butternut squash and Long Island cheese pumpkins.
And, for the first time, gorgeous full heads of broccoli.  
My friend Maria weighs out five pounds of sweet potatoes.
Hearty root vegetables abound.  
And as always, there is crisp, lively lettuce to delight the palate. 
The distribution tent is always a hub of activity and conversation. 
Saturday distribution manager Susan Salem is braiding garlic with Ada.
Glenn Aldridge is gearing up to head into the fields.   He’s trying out a new pair of rubber boots to keep the feet dry.
I linger to drink it all in.  Farming, food and friendships.  That is the stuff of life at Restoration Farm.
It even seems that the dahlias are drenched in color to celebrate another successful season.  
Just for the moment, the cycle of life at Restoration Farm is complete.  
We look forward to the harvest celebrations to come, and then – after a brief rest – the time to sow seeds again, creating new life.  
 (Note:  The final pickup at the farm for the season occurred before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.  Reliable sources tell me the farm successfully weathered the storm.)

©2012 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

A smart idea to pick before Sandy. Hope the farm and the animals faired well during the storm and you as well. What a way to end the season. I hope your lights are back on, you have heat, and everything is beginning to return to normal. We've been through more than our share of hurricanes in the islands. You and the entire northeast have been in our thoughts & prayers.

I know you must be looking forward to next spring. The farm seems like such a happy family place to enjoy the harvests of the seasons.

Zany said...

Wow, look at those carrots! That squash also makes me want to cook up some soup. Still a lot of opportunities for great dishes with this bounty!

I hope the storm did not bring damage to the farm, or the many people that make up its family. We continue to think about you and hope things return to as much normalcy as possible during this difficult time.

Kat said...

You are such a great story teller. I can just imagine all the harvest happenings at the Farm. I was wondering how Sandy may have affected you and the farm. What wonderful looking vegetables! I tilled up my garden this week. It will soon be time to plant again, as time passes so quickly.

Gloria Baker said...

What nice place and farm (hope Sunday dont make damages here) look awesome, love the pictures and love these sweet potatos!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for yopur lovely post about the farm, its people & its lovely & very rich produce! :)

Every veggie looks so appetizing, so bright in colour etc! I love that kale!