These photos are from a year ago. Not timely and yet, timely enough. A reminder, really. These photos take me back to a special dinner, a collaboration between a rising chef and heartfelt farmers. They take me back to the first summer in our dream house. I was covered in sawdust, deep in projects, and missing the summer bucket list activities we usually prioritized. This midsummer celebration was a way to press pause and feel present in the season.
William McCaffrey and Veronica Palladino are multi-generation farmers who believe that farms are critical to building strong local communities and reversing climate change. Put on a flannel, hold a warm mug of [spiked] cider, and join me for a vicarious brisk walk around their time-tested farm in all its New England fall glory.
As dormancy settles in, I wanted to look back once more on all the beauty the flower garden gave, to reflect, to remind myself to embrace the seasons, the shifts, the rest. More beauty will come, but the decay, the shedding is necessary. What will I cherish and keep? What will I shed? What new growth will emerge next spring after this season of hibernation? I will just have to wait and see.
Beach Plum Farm is a far cry from the necessary scrappiness of most working farms. It's an inspiration and an unobtainable aspiration, which makes languishing in its herb gardens and eating at the outdoor tables all the more appealing. It makes me hungry just reminiscing about it, so as I drool nostalgically, I invite you to vicariously languish in the gardens, meet the livestock and take in the Amish-built barn.
The beauty of a CSA, a Community Sponsored Agriculture program, is investing directly in a local farmer and reducing the stamps in your dinner’s passport. The beast of a CSA is being bombarded with vegetables you don’t love or simply don’t know how to use.
If you want to learn the definition of resilience, shadow an old farmer. Shake his hand. Listen to the boom of his voice. Follow his gaze. If you want to see the definition of fearlessness, attempt to keep up with that old farmer. If you want to bear witness to your own limits and timidity, attempt to help that farmer. That's exactly what I did this past fall when I helped with a cranberry harvest.
For the past six months or so, I've been working on something big, something scary, something that has broken me, built me and flipped me every which way. I've missed summertime traditions, family gatherings, and missed seeing lots of my friends, but there was one day I couldn't miss: my Rustbelt Farmer's birthday! That's a day that called for cake, specifically a Gluten Free Rhubarb Cake with Whiskey Whipped Cream and farm-fresh strawberries and mint.