The first snow of the season is falling as I write. Thanksgiving is still a week away, and Facebook is full of storm-inspired hysteria and comedy, but I’m feeling even-keeled for a change. After a season of being tossed about by the weather, it’s nice to take it in stride. Yesterday morning, Steve spent hours harvesting carrots while Dan and I moved squash and potatoes into the walk-in cooler and pulled the remaining garlic down from the rafters.
In the afternoon, we harvested cabbage and ran 300 pounds of carrots through the root washer. Then this morning, the three of us were back in the fields to tick the remaining items off the list—the romanesco, the beets, and the Brussels sprouts I didn’t think would amount to anything (they’re still on the small side). By the time the first afternoon flurries fell, the entire Thanksgiving harvest had been tucked away in the Tin House and the floor swept clean. There are still plenty of loose ends to tie up, but the beauty of late fall is that you can attend to them at your leisure.
Hauling in the harvest is certainly satisfying, but the job of storing it all can sometimes feel mundane. Compared to heady tasks of crop rotation and fertility management, making sure the onions don’t freeze doesn’t require any brilliance, just attentiveness. But attending to proper storage is as important as anything else; after all, if the onions freeze in the end, what difference did it make that their soil was fertile? We’re wrapping up our fifth season in the Tin House, and I continue to be grateful for how much food this building shelters—we never could have added the winter share without it! When I think of all the equipment and tools that are essential to any farm, a barn certainly ranks high on my list. If you can decorate the barn for the holidays, all the better!
As we gear up for the Thanksgiving pickups, especially at the end of a tough season, I find myself reflecting on the link between present and future. All of the farms Dan and I have worked at—the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Sophia Garden, and now Restoration Farm—have offered this bonus pickup as a thank you for returning CSA members. This year we’re expecting 100 members to participate—half our entire membership! This means that before the last 2018 carrot is pulled, almost half the 2019 operating budget is in the bank. That’s what makes the Thanksgiving pickup so special—it’s both a celebration of the season that’s ending and an affirmation of the season ahead.