A Harvest day in early August: The light starts up in the eastern sky and rubs the horizon until it catches fire. We enter the fields to glean row after row of dew-beaded curly kale. The night’s breeze rests its cheek upon the ground, feels the cool damp, then rises up waving off the mists that ladder the early air. The farm, the morning, belongs to the birds. Images flow freely through the furrows, eyes prey on a shadow. A turkey vulture’s passing reshapes the shores of the world. The day fills with music, and in between the music, silence, and varying the silence, all sorts of sounds, natural and man made: there goes a plane to Boston, a tractor revs up in the lower field, the mourning dove, the black-capped chickadee, the wood thrush’s song pierces precisely through the spaces between the leaning birches. The sun starts to suck up the dew and the day clears before the stacks of black crates, waiting to be filled. The heat and humidity begin to play with an intensity above the crush of green. An swelling vibration, a chlorophilandering sinks into our bodies, buzzing with mounting heat and activity. The pace of the work picks up and as the shadows behind our harvest trucks shorten. Perception narrows to the task and the movement of quick hands. “Ten more bunches of Rainbow, then on to the next field!” The carrots reveal themselves, with a satisfying rip from the earth, to be distillers of summer’s color. The eggplant, in spite of it’s slow start, shines like polished mahogany beneath the speckled foliage. The tomatoes share freely the smell of their furred collars. Their sap sticks to bare skin like tar and their pollen covers us in a golden glitter as we look for the flash of red that leaps from the green. The dozens of zucchini and zephyr squash line up like placid troops with the pattypan – their squat minions. Hours pass deep in the meditation of gathering and the shadows start to lengthen again, now on the other side of the trucks. The percussion of a potato digging fork replaces the music of the birds. “What’s left yet? Ahh, the last of the cucumber! I’ll hunt my way down this bed if you take that one.” As last of the brimming crates get loaded onto the final truck, we catch a glimpse of our sweat-drenched, dirt-covered, sap-stained selves in a rear view mirror and add our laugher to the day’s din.
A box full of vegetables, packed like Christmas – full of color, warmth, laughter, and birdsong – this is our offering to you. We hope that this food might nourish your body and spirit, as much as it has nourished us to grow, tend, and gather it. Yours truly, in crisp cucs and succulent sun-golds, Farmer.