All Things Fall

Monday night the frost came again to the farm fields. In the afternoon, we decided against covering the remains of the beans. Time to let go.

Last week when it frosted we looked around afterwards to find some things only singed - a few straggling cosmos flowers, only the tips of the galinsoga weeds dying back. This time, Tuesday morning came with the full flavor of frosty hush and there was no doubt about the crystals on our windshields. Now, the galinsoga is dead down to the very thickest stems. The bean leaves hang limp. All was quiet.

But just for a moment. These first frosts turn a page in our season, and then, inhaling, we're on to a new chapter. We've said goodbye to some of our main characters - all the tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, for example. But we're just getting to know others. We scrape off the windshields and begin our harvest with the roots in order to give the greens some time to thaw. These are the days of rambling conversations, about Ken Burns and sideburns and heartburn and burning questions. These are the days of running to pick up buckets into the truck, of loading andunloading 50 lb sacks of good food. On Friday when we brought in the first brussels sprouts we we got the first long look at how the sprouts look with side leaves stripped away - wow, they look good!

You might wonder: why are some plants killed so quickly by a frost but not others? Plants die when their cell walls burst, and the cold tolerant plants have protection: sugar! Carrots, other roots and brassicas are all sweeter after the frost. The other thing that happens is a transition in energy. Plants get signals that a period of dormancy approaches. They send energy down, out of their leaves and into their roots for storage. And so do we, resilient humans. We take a little longer to thaw in the morning, making time to be sweet to ourselves like hardy vegetables. Some of our tasks and worries are stripped away - time to let go - and now what's important is very clear. We dry out the root cellar and start sending down our storage harvests of potatoes, cabbage and roots. We hope you enjoy the harvest.

Your Farmer,
(for Dan, Karen, Abbe, Rebecca, Sunny and Ellen)