News from the Farm | November 10, 2014

Fall. Finally, the farm’s heartbeat has begun its descent back to a resting rate. For the past seven months, the heart of the organism known as Full Belly has been pulsing with growth and energy. Millions of pounds of fruits and vegetables have made their way into thousands of lives, fueling hearts and nourishing bodies. Hopefully some of that food found its way into your mouth this year. Whether it was a sun-kissed peach, a vine-ripened tomato, or a heavenly muskmelon, it is our passion to bring you the beat of the farm with this delicious produce.

I believe that Mother Nature doesn’t get enough credit for the product of her toil. I know that each tree this year pushed its roots further and deeper then they have in a long time. Stretched thin in a time of drought when water was so scarce, our trees found a way to keep their fruit all the way until it was harvested. The oak trees around the farm still managed to produce so many acorns making sure that all the creatures of the valley are well stocked and fattened for the winter. Our plants grew and fruited despite the myriad of challenges pitted against them. This resilience and perseverance of nature is truly inspiring. 

I know how hard farmers work. The nature of farming is demanding, both physically and mentally.  The hearts of all farmers beat earnestly year-round to meet those demands, but we ask even more of ourselves every summer. We are part of a complex system that works around the clock creating the bounty that we, then, get to share with you. Summer is powerful. It is the grand presentation of a year of hard work translated into feast.

That’s when fall comes to save us. Every farmer would agree that fall arrives not a day too soon. The farm itself sings and whistles in the summer, but come fall, it sighs and smiles with relief. Fall rains kiss the tired soil, giving it promise. Cold nights chill, helping trees exhale their leaves.  Now, with summer’s sweetness still hanging on our lips and short days to make us rest, we can finally remember to be incredibly thankful for what we have been given. 

Pomegranates remind me of this. Such brave trees. How hopeful they are, year in and year out. Setting fruit each spring. Not giving in to summer’s call to ripen. Instead, they wait. They wait for the dust to settle, for the festivals to finish. They wait until the other plants begin their saunter into winter sleep. All the while, locking up an exceptionally seductive flavor inside. Each ruby jewel unravels this story of summer for me.   

Seeds are also beacons of the season’s change.  Tiny miracles, they are.  A whole year of growth rendered into a speck of hope. It is truly a wonder to watch a plant shed its fruit, and in doing so, pass on its knowledge to the next generation. Seeds tell stories of the past, hold potential in the present, and grant us a glimpse into next summer’s harvest.

Still, the heart of Full Belly continues to beat into the cold winter months. Dried flowers from summer harvests are transformed into irresistible winter wreaths. Steady hands plant and pick winter squash, greens, roots, and brassicas for the markets and your boxes. Cover crops emerge over our fields rejuvenating while catching every last drop of precious rain. Babies are born. Winter embraces a farmer with a big, warm hug. Singing songs by the fire and the stews, oh, the stews! The farmer embraces winter much in the same way – for without winter’s chill, there is no bounty of summer.  So, come long night. Come rain. Our hearts beat with you.

— Rye Muller