Welcome to our blog!

Welcome to our blog! Learn about our farm operation, public programs, and the people behind our work through the Notes from the Field and Education sections. Peruse the Recipes section for some staff favorites.

Waltham Fields Community Farm (incorporated as Community Farms Outreach, Inc.) is a nonprofit farming organization focusing on sustainable food production, fresh food assistance, and on-farm education. For more information about Waltham Fields check out our website!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Notes from the Field - The Change

The remarkable New England nature writer Hal Borland wrote that "essentially, autumn is the quiet completion of spring and summer. Spring was all eagerness and beginnings, summer was growth and flowering. Autumn is the achievement summarized, the harvested grain, the ripened apple, the grape in the wine press. Autumn is the bright leaf in the woodland, the opened husk on the bittersweet berry, the froth of asters at the roadside." The equinox and the harvest moon have passed, and autumn is upon us. The mornings are beautiful and cool, the skies impossibly blue; the afternoons are warm, and the evenings are early and brilliant with stars.

The change is on the farm fields as well. Winter squash, harvested and cured in the fields, appears on the stand for soups and casseroles. After the final harvest of tomatoes, we'll turned our attention to digging all the sweet potatoes, which need to cure in the greenhouse for a couple of weeks before their starches turn to sugar and they are good to eat. Cool nights turn roots and leaves sweet. Cover crops like field peas, oats, winter rye and hairy vetch sprout in the rows where finished crops have been turned in. Hawks and coyotes are abroad in the fields, hunting the rabbits and voles that brave the open spaces to fatten themselves up for the coming winter.

On the day of the equinox, we had an evening potluck at the farm to celebrate the work of our field crew. As we served ourselves, someone murmured that it may be that heaven is like a farm potluck in the fall. We enjoyed the crystalline weather, the delicious food that bridges the seasons, and the grateful, tired company. We ate quiches, one with with leeks and potatoes, another with arugula and sweet peppers, a crisp and lemony carrot salad, Erinn's signature quinoa salad with sweet corn and feta, spinach dip, caprese bites, mashed potatoes so fluffy and delicious they were like eating a cloud. There was a pizza with radicchio, smoked cheese and aji dulce peppers, and another with olives, tomato, onions, peppers, lemon and capers. There was a delicious flan, apple cobbler, pepper jelly, peach cobbler, and spicy ginger cookies. Children roamed the fields, pulling carrots, nibbling raspberries, snipping flowers. Hector's son Victor demonstrated a range of Colombian instruments for us, and their music floated over the fields, drifting out across the rows of lettuce and spinach, arugula and carrots, to the sumac and maples just starting to turn red on the margins.

Change is in the air. The field crew has ended their time with us and Assistant Grower Sutton has moved on to the Food Project to serve as their Regional Food Coordinator. Kim Hunter, our dedicated Education Coordinator has handed over the reins to Alexandra Lennon-Simon. And Naomi Shea, a fixture on the farm through the spring seedling production season, rejoins us in the fields to help with end of season work. Our focus, still on the harvest, also broadens to include planning for the upcoming season, which will bring great shifts as we take on the management of Lexington Community Farm and work to reach out to more people through our own work here in Waltham. But for now, we have a moment to enjoy what Borland calls "the annual pause... a time of relative ease and quiet. The plant commits its future to the seed and the roots. The insect stows its tomorrow in the egg and the pupa. And, as the urgency begins to abate, man, close to the land and surrounded by his own harvest, knows again the old, old truths of the season. It is, even today, the time of ripeness, of reaping, of plenty, of summer come to fulfillment."

Enjoy the harvest,
Amanda, for the farm crew

1 comment:

joana donovan said...

Nice Post!! Winter squash, harvested and cured in the fields, appears on the stand for soups and casseroles. After the final harvest of tomatoes, we'll turned our attention to digging all the sweet potatoes, which need to cure in the greenhouse for a couple of weeks before their starches turn to sugar and they are good to eat.

Omega-3 Products