This week it was a joy to be out at the farm with the gorgeous weather. We even scheduled some of the market crew to help out with picking and clean up. This is a rarity since we seldom have enough coverage at the markets to spare anyone for the farm. However, this week the stars aligned and their was both opportunity and a need to fill as we transition from harvest to cleanup and preparation for next season. As we continue to pick some of the most gorgeous greenbeans and heirloom tomatoes of the season, we are also weeding, removing stakes, plastic mulch, and irrigation from spent beds, mowing them down and getting ready to cover crop with a borrowed no-till seed drill. We will borrow the expensive piece of equipment through a program with the county and need to use it quickly and carefully so we can return it for the next farmer to use. I guess it’s kind of like a tractor attachment library of sorts.
As I walk about the farm I notice certain highlights full of vibrance and color. The lettuce field and baby mixed greens jump out at you like a technicolor Irish spring. Our late season cool crops display brilliant firey tones in the stems of the rainbow swiss chard while at the same time smokey blues of tuscan kale and brussels sprouts. Next year’s strawberry field is uniformed and orderly like an army of baby plants in straight lines equidistant apart fully weeded.
The time I spent picking cherry tomatoes with my market crew midday on a Tuesday felt really nice behind the confessional walls of vegetation. The conversation carried above the 6′ screens of staked tomato plants and mingled with those of birds and grasshoppers. We traded travel stories and future plans as our season draws to a close. One crew member is off to Israel next week, while another is leaving for New Zealand and Australia a month later. The third, a recent college graduate, is weighing options and undergoing interviews as she deliberates moving out west and notions of grad school. I even received some accounting advice. All the while each of us keeps moving down our own row looking for the next big cluster of perfectly ripe tomatoes, picking them and trying to keep them from splitting as they land in the plastic green lug. This is a perfect sunny and mild moment which feels like we are saying goodbye to summer. Fall is coming and you can feel the change in the air.