by Sky Harman
Last time I wrote, I spoke of looking forward to the future and what meaning is gleaned from the act. As the cool weather truly sets in, as the Indian summer makes one last effort in shedding the long sleeves and sweaters from our shoulders, I must begin to look back and think of what has been and to do what I can to keep some of what we have done at the farm close in my cupboard and close in my heart.
Although all of the food that you all have eaten has passed through our hands, and I must admit that we have eaten well from the fields, we have little laid by to keep us through the colder months. In the height of the summer it is difficult to think of those times, when tomatoes will not be ever-present in our fields, when basil will not be in endless bounty, when cucumbers can only be purchased by the jar, but now as I look upon fields of tender leafy greens I think to those times, with the urgency of knowing that an end to the season is imminent.
Time is growing short for the tomato. We will do our best to keep the fruits ripening in our fields as long as we can, but tomatoes always die. I think now of the days of winter, when a hearty soup will surely do me well and know that now is that time, that I might be able to put away a jar or two. The same goes for all of the fruits of the summer season. Maybe all of you with greyer hair and those longer in the tooth are way ahead of me, but if not I must be the bearer of the season’s tidings. Lay by what you can! Let not tomatoes go bad on your counter, nor basil black on the stem! Don’t allow the cukes to go soft, or the pepper to mush! Alas, salad cannot be preserved, but the fruits of summer can be, and they should! Put aside your tomatoes. They can stand the test of time, if only we make the effort to preserve them.
With that act, with the preservation of food, we might hold a bit closer to our hearts the time that has passed and forever passes us. On that winter’s day, we might bring in a feeling of the warmth of August (or at least the early days of October) into our kitchen and into hearts.