Bounty & Health

This feels like summer.  Friday’s harvest had me looking at a piles of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and basil.  The greens selection has become a simple to-do item at the start of our harvest list, rather than monopolizing the entire morning. Beets, potatoes, carrots, fennel.  It is almost difficult to imagine that I could be as satisfied as I am today during our winter meals that contain far less diversity, although I know that I am satisfied then too.

Live up the now – eat eggplant twice a day and tomatoes with every meal.  This is the time.

As some of you know, my addiction with agriculture is pretty solid in me.  I graduated from college in 1998 and drove directly to my own farm apprenticeship, to test out the waters of the farming world that I’d been trying to dabble in for as long as I can remember.   Just as much as I love the diversity of our August diet, I love to farm.  I left that farm apprenticeship with my car full of my favorite college books, paints, and writing materials, but also a brand new collection of hoes, boots, and broken down pants.

My interest in farming goes much deeper than the vegetables we share, and the business you see on the surface.  During that first apprenticeship I visited a biodynamic herbal farm in Rhode Island that felt like chaos and mystery to me, but there was something about the energy of the place that I didn’t forget.

Putting it all out there – 

Now, fifteen years later, I’m starting to really make sense of what it was about that biodynamic herbal farm that resonated with me.  It was the energy of the plants.  One reason why I think we in the garden world are able to work as hard as we do is because we are constantly being fed by the energy of what is around us.  Not just the food we eat, but also the ever changing sky, massive energy of the winter squash leaf, and delicate power from the basil plants.  Over time I think I’m getting more in tune with this energy, and finding out what plants I resonate with.  I can pound out the cucumber and summer squash seedlings all I’d like, but they don’t do much for me.  An hour picking herbs, and I feel like a revived woman.

I will probably always grow more vegetables than the household I’m a part of will eat.  But, I’m predicting a shift in Dandelion Spring farm.   There will be a marked shift in the food I grow and how we connect to it.  A line of tinctures and salves?  Workshops at the farm?  I don’t know.  I do have a strong suspicion that there will be more herbs.  A lot more herbs.

The to-do for the farm this week will have all of the requirements of a thriving vegetable operation – more seeding of salad mix, bok choi, scallions… pulling out seasonal greenhouse structures so we can start to put in cover crop seed (already! thinking about fall), harvest, harvest, harvest.

This Sunday afternoon farmer leisure time has me reading about herbs and remedies.  Peg Schafer and Rosemary Gladstar are educating me about many of the plants that we already have growing: basils, yarrow, calendula, melissa, the list goes on.  I feel like encouraging all of you to pick-up Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs Beginner’s Guide,  and to make a tincture or vinegar or two.  To put away some of this summer’s bounty to care for yourself this winter if you have a headache or simply need an uplift.  These plants that are around us are powerful things.

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