November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving on the Farm


Harvest on the Farm

Farm News

Thanksgiving is the time on the farm that I most adore. The first rain has always hit the farm, stirring up the fresh smell of moist dirt and washing the dust from the long, hot summer off the trees, tractors and buildings. The hills are still yellow from the faded grass of summer, but the signs of change are present, mainly in the oak trees that have started to turn brown and shed their leaves. The creek flows steady and clear, allowing the ducks, otters and turtles to swim in the rising waters.
Harvest on the Farm


This week is also a time to take a deep breath and look back at the season in its entirety. While the fall vegetables and mandarins are not completely harvested and sold, the figurative light at the end of the tunnel is shining brightly as we reach the end of season. Behind us, the summer fields of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash and melons now lie cleaned up and sown with the seeds of cover crops waiting for more fall rains. The fields for next year have been selected and prepared with compost and gypsum that will ripen over the winter and be ready to nourish next season’s crops.

Harvest on the Farm


This year, as we have done in the past, our family will spend the day on the farm for Thanksgiving. The morning will be spent driving the kids around the farm in the back of the truck on a vegetable safari harvesting many of the ingredients for the evening dinner. In the kale field, they struggle to pick the leaves all the same size, but it all tastes the same. In the carrot field, they are not heavy enough to use the shovel well, so I operate the shovel, turning over the earth to reveal orange gems that they will pluck out of the soil, breaking half of them.

Harvest on the Farm

As they pull satsuma mandarins off the tree, they will do it in a way that leaves the stem on the tree and leaves the fruit slightly pre-peeled. The fennel will need a knife to cut the bulb from the root. I’ll let them use the knife, but I know they will not do it correctly. The injuries to the fennel bulb will be trivial, but I hope the injuries to kids will be first-aid only, not requiring a trip to the emergency room (our daughter Lola had a decorative concrete statue fall on her leg last Thanksgiving − that was a trip to the ER and two layers of stitches). It is fun to realize that I too was just as clueless about the details of the farm as a kid − the “right” way to harvest and in a way, I wonder if maybe I have lost, not gained, knowledge over the years – maybe the kids are right, our body and souls don’t care about the looks of what nourishes them.

Harvest on the Farm

Family Photo from Thanksgiving 2016.

In the crowd for dinner will be a healthy set of brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, children, nieces and nephews. This will be baby Che’s first Thanksgiving (the new son of Noah and Camille), and Carol and Freeman’s new baby will be there too, not yet born, but visible enough in Carol’s belly. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for the family and friends that are with you and to remember the memories of the loved ones we were lucky enough to have had at one point. I hope you all enjoy this time of the year, and thank you for your continued support of our farm.

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