On a recent, lovely autumn evening, with a still strong, setting sun and the threat of a category 4 storm way off in the distance, I descended the steep slope from the meeting area, leading 29 visiting donors who chose to dine at the Farm for our September Harvest Farm to Table Al Fresco Dinner.
We arrived at Peck’s Meadow, our most frequented nearly-an-acre growing field that abuts a salt marsh which dates back to the 1600’s and allows the water from Richardson Brook to reach Little Harbor and find its way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Peck’s Meadow field is lush this time of year, as well placed flowers, visible from Jerusalem Road, and a variety of vegetables adorn the growing beds. The diners and donors, who generously supported the educational programs and farming operations, seemed pleased with what lay before them.
We temporarily shut off the power to the electric fence, which is doing a fine job of preventing deer from encroaching, nibbling and devouring our crops. Once we strolled down the center path, there were many things to note, both to the left and the right as well as straight ahead.
Where to begin? I am struck first by the 19 year-old perennial asparagus, whose leafy ferns are just beginning to form berries which will hold red seeds come October. The asparagus is struggling against much younger and more vigorous weeds like lamb’s quarters and milkweed, the latter is a boon to monarchs who travel through the field.
So, in ten days, when 75 volunteers from Blue Cross/Blue Shield visit the Farm to tackle a multitude of seasonal farm chores, uprooting the non-beneficial weeds will be one of the more arduous ones to handle, along with compost making, wood chip spreading in the paths, weeding and extending the Farm to Food Pantry garden to host more produce for those in need. But I digress from the spectacular evening when all the produce was growing at different stages of fruition, beauty and scrumptious consumption.
The produce is still growing and available for folks to see, at our annual Beyond the Barn Farm Tour this Sunday the 17th. Salad mix under shade cloth, beets’ shoulders rising above the ground, climbing cucumber vine and stand-up leeks who could be ready for harvest in less than a month’s time.
But the produce is there at all times of the day and night, with bees coming to pollinate the flowers and children on a school field trip seeing how vegetables grow with implemented sustainable practices and organic compost and hard work put in each day by the farmers.
So Sunday, or any given day for that matter, come see what can happen in a space equivalent to a football field where many choose to place hash marks and pay hundreds of dollars to watch men tackle each other, with reverberating repercussions and head numbing concussions. See how the farmers are using space to host aspects of nature for healthy food for the community. It is a lovely time of year, with sun, cool evenings and visitors enjoying the possibility of possible human contact with the earth and impact on ways of being.