December 21, 2020
Last weekend we hosted our final winter share pickup and farm stand for the season. Rather than cram it all into one day, we opted for a Friday-Saturday double-header, to allow for a more manageable flow of people through the Tin House. We were lucky that the weather was on our side, as much as winter weather can ever be. We didn’t escape the nor’easter that rolled in Wednesday evening, but we had just enough time to dig out the Tin House and plow the parking lot before our 2pm opening on Friday. For as long as we’ve run Restoration Farm, Dan has also worked full-time at the Sisters of St. Dominic Motherhouse in Amityville, which means he’s always on call for snow removal. It’s nothing unusual for him to plow through the night, but we don’t normally have a winter market to prepare for the next day. By the time he arrived home on Thursday, he’d been plowing for 20 straight hours, but we only had a short window to clear the farm before the snow, which had begun to melt, froze hard. I suppose this is why the Eskimo have so many different words for snow. Regardless, we opened right on time Friday afternoon. Even with temperatures hovering in the mid-twenties, there were smiles and good cheer all around.
And now that we’ve fulfilled our CSA obligations for the year, we can sit back and enjoy our favorite holiday—the winter solstice. (The irony of completing our winter share before the first day of winter isn’t lost on me) Ordinarily, the circle of people with whom Dan and I celebrate the solstice is fairly small, but—as with all things 2020—that’s been upended this year. Solstice appreciation seems to be running at an all-time high, thanks to COVID, and I consider it one of the pandemic’s many silver linings. Farming has taught me many things, and foremost among them is that everything on this Earth has a purpose, be it a pest, disease, or the darkest day of the year. For farmers, winter has always been a time of rest, reflection, and hope. No matter how disappointing the previous season, or how cold and dark the night, once you reach the winter solstice, you are moving towards rebirth and light. This year, that message seems to be resonating more broadly, and with good reason. As we all enter what we hope will be the home stretch, we can appreciate together the light—both symbolic and literal—at the end of this tunnel.
Happy Winter Solstice to you!