Time for a Break
It seems hard to believe we have arrived in December, but it is true. Here we are, deep into the season, just a few short weeks from the darkest days. The weeks leading up to Solstice are quite short in daylight, and I find they help facilitate a true inward calling for most farmers to take a break. Let’s face it, our bodies have been put to the test and the fields and veggies have given their 120% for many months!
We are tired in a good way, and Mother Nature is calling us to quiet moments and hunker down. Most folks from the Northwest are familiar with this concept, and it is a gift of the seasons. Greens off the farm taste hardier and have a more rugged, bitter and savory quality, and most dishes we prepare with our favorite greens rarely disappoint, even the simple versions of steamed and braised vegetables are hearty and delicious.
As farmers in December, we look to healing and finding some sense of balance and reorder. It is a time that we can reach out into the community, find our support networks and recap the pros and cons of the farming season. In many cases, this means heading out into the world and leaving the homestead as this allows for true reflection. Some years it is a trip to Alaska; others it is a trip to Mexico, but always it is a sojourn that expands our understanding of growers in a global sense and how we fit into the greater scope.
This last week, Andrew and I ventured to my native home of Pittsburgh, PA. My roots go back into the Heinz family, and this trip reminded me that the first crop grown by HJ and his cousin Frederick, my great great grandfather, was horseradish. Many people often associate Heinz with pickles or tomatoes, but going way back in history there are some amazing deep-root horseradish plants that are said to still be alive and well from the original parent plant in Sharpsburgh, Pennsylvania. So, as you venture into the holiday cooking and gathering, look for some fresh horseradish to grate up and spice up your veggies. I know it will make an appearance on our in-progress wishlist for 2018 crops.
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