Kitchen Garden

Waning Days of Harvest

Foxtail and Compost
Foxtail and Compost

LAKE MACBRIDE— The abundance of this year’s local food system has been remarkable. The more than adequate spring rain, combined with a late growing season, had everything producing, including the author. The term “local food system,” in this context, means how an individual home cook acquires and produces food for the table.

This year, our food was mostly organic, and if we grew celery,  lemons and limes here, we would have little reason to visit the produce aisle at the grocery store, except to compare our produce with theirs.

But the season is ending. Talk turns to cover crops and preparing the fields for winter. Gleaning will begin soon, plot by plot, uprooting the plants and taking the last bits of produce. The gleaning process wrecks the garden, making way for a fall turning of the soil. Seldom have I gotten the garden plots turned before winter arrives. Maybe this year, but I doubt it.

The red delicious apples are ripening, not ready yet, but soon. And so begins the vortex into fall’s final push into winter. Working four part time jobs has been a grind from multiple perspectives, not the least of which has been the wearying effect on my bones and muscles. Four more weeks at the orchard, maybe a job or two at one CSA, and work into October at the other. The four to five hours per week at the newspaper is the only constant: I complete two years there in October.

Whatever the challenges of this life, they are much better than the office work I did for so many years. The sense of creation, and contribution is tangible, even if the pay isn’t adequate to live. There is more work to do before this harvest is closed. I relish its opportunity and the life it engenders.