03 Oct Share week 21: Harvest Festival
Coming up next week, Saturday Oct. 13th, is Blooming Glen Farm’s annual harvest festival. With fall festivals springing up everywhere you look this time of year, I needed to take a few moments to remind myself why our farm values this season-end celebration.
Harvest festivals and agriculture traditionally go hand in hand. From the ancient Greeks and Romans to modern times, numerous communities and religions honor a tradition of thankfulness at harvest time. The holiday of Jewish religion called Sukkot or “Festival of Ingathering’, is both historical and agricultural. A celebration of family, community and culture, the word “Kwanzaa” comes from the African language Swahili and means “First Fruits of the Harvest.” In Great Britain, until the 20th century, farmers celebrated the end of the harvest with a big meal called the harvest or “mell-supper”, named after the last patch of corn or wheat standing in the fields. Cutting it signified the end of the work of harvest and the beginning of the feast.
Harvest festivals are typically held around the Harvest Moon -the full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox (this year’s harvest moon was Saturday, Sept. 29th, so we’re not too far off). Ancient harvest festivals were celebrated to give thanks for an abundant crop. In our world of seeming overabundance, where our every food whim can be satisfied by a quick stop at the local grocery store, it can be easy to forget to honor this connection between the health of our farms and the health of our families.
In ancient times, an abundant crop was crucial to sustain the community through the lean winter months. But abundant crop or not, giving thanks was ritualized into the fabric of these ancient communities. Whether it be the labor of the farmers and volunteers, the support of the eaters, or the benevolence of a greater life source (whatever name you may choose to call it)- all these factors and hands contribute to the thriving organism that is a farm. Thanks-giving truly happens best through collaboration and shared experience, taking time out of our busy lives for joyfulness and sharing, with the ultimate result being a healthy, strong, and unified community. And ultimately a community that is thankful for healthy food will always have healthy farms.
Please consider joining us next Saturday from 2pm until dark for our Harvest Festival and Harvest Supper– bring a potluck dish to share as we all sit down to a meal together made from the fruits of the season. Dance, feast, socialize, drum, craft, collaborate, and reflect on the bounty that the land has given us these past six months. Volunteers are still needed to help make this celebration possible- sign-up sheets can be found at the farm. All are welcome!
Speaking of bountiful harvest, the farm crew is particularly thankful for the broccoli crop this week. It’s the first week of October- the leaves are changing, cooler temperatures at night means sweeter veggies, and kinder weather for crops like broccoli. Broccoli is something we plant every two weeks in the fall. But due to unforeseen elements like weather and insects, there are no guarantees that each sucession will bring a bumper crop. This week’s harvest is the third planting, and by far the most beautiful so far. Less bugs and minimal disease made for large broccoli crowns, and a very enjoyable and speedy harvest, even in the rain on Tuesday.
Photos and text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.