Greetings from Against the Grain and welcome to the Eighteenth week of the CSA! Just like past weeks, the customization period begins once this notification lands in your inbox (which should be around noon on Friday) and will end at 11:59pm on Sunday, September 27th. Just as a reminder, if you'd like to change pick up locations for the share that is currently open for customization, please email Harvie support to request that change. Always feel free to double check with Holly to make sure the change was made. It is so important to the farm that CSA members have flexibility in their pick up location.
It's official, we are offering a four week extension to the regular CSA shares, with pick up locations at the farm and the High Country Food Hub only. Share availability will only be 35 shares, so sign ups will be available until sold out! Sign up through the Harvie platform. https://www.harvie.farm/signup/against-the-grain
We have also started accepting reservations for Thanksgiving Turkeys. Our birds are raised to high welfare standards, with GMO-free verified feed, as well as continuous access to fresh pasture, water and sunshine. Reserve one with a $25 deposit on our website: atgfarm.com.
This week's newsletter contribution comes to you from M Mueller and is entitled "A Time of Festival."
Look on any calendar and you will see festivals attached to certain dates: New Year’s Day, the Fourth of July, Juneteenth, Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid al-Fitr. In farm life, there are markers other than calendar days that tell us when festival times arrive: the goats bunch at the paddock gate after only three or four hours on pasture; the sun rises and sets 12 hours apart; the long haired Highland cows and the Pyrenees dog, Rhea, are putting on coat.
Now that we are past the Fall Equinox, there is a certain quality of gold in the air that accords with ripening fruits like the butternut squash we harvested recently. The goldenrod attracts its golden honeybees and on clear evenings the sun sets gold, too. It’s as if a being streaming golden light is overlooking all our activities. If we look to a European-based calendar, coincidentally we see on June 29 the Feast of Saint Michael. This was traditionally an important time for farmers in England especially, as it was a “quarter day” when rents were due, wages were paid, hiring was done. A definite transition time.
When we look at pictures of the Michael being, it is often depicted as keeping a dragon at bay at the point of a spear, often under foot. Like depictions of the Hindu goddess Durga, who is pictured subduing a monster buffalo, or the Egyptian god Horus overcoming a crocodile, we never see a killer triumphant, but we see a divine being in the act of subduing—not killing—its foe. What is the meaning of this symbolic foe which is never killed, but only kept at bay?
Well, if you are a farmer, you can feel in your body the shortening of days and the extra power it takes to raise vegetable crops (fruits are simply not a reasonable crop to grow at this time of year). On cold mornings it takes extra energy to get going. Unforeseen frosts with expensive crops out in the field can put you on edge. Floating along on the strength of warm sunny summer days is no longer possible. Now we have to create our own power, our own inner light and warmth as we go through the fall. We must subdue the dragon called fear and anxiety and call forth the forces of will needed to enter the darkening days soon heading into winter.
Fear and anxiety in a time of disease and political and environmental upheaval need to be kept at bay as well, so that we can continue to function and do the job we have set out to do. We can’t do this by ourselves, but if we have strong allies, true friends, trusted companions, if we can get from our food the strength to fight our individual demons, so to speak, with enough left over to look after our neighbor as well, we will find ourselves in the company of that Being, whatever it may be called, which sheds golden light on our labors and shows us the power of will to vanquish whatever is preventing us from becoming truly human. That is the festival we now celebrate. We hope our farm fresh food will be part of your celebration, too!
Until next week, much love and happy eating,
Holly, Andy and the ATG Crew