The scene pictured above was taken by Quin my second or third week here. I’m trimming onions and Justin is organizing what is probably 80 or 90 pounds of zucchini. Since this harvest, the CSA pick has consistently been an unbelievable bounty. And now, a month and a half later, tomorrow will be the last Mano Farm harvest in which I will partake for the foreseeable future. When I was rearranging the fire pit yesterday in Quin’s sunflower circle, I felt so at peace with myself and my time with Quin and Justin at Mano, but I was also struck with the stark melancholy that happens whenever I have to transition away from something. Time truly goes too fast.
I rarely took photographs here. Today, while I was harvesting tomatoes (now pumping out about 70 pounds a week from a single bed) and ground cherries around sunset, I realized why. The beauty here is very difficult to capture in one image, at least the beauty how I experience it. I find myself really appreciating the transitions: from a bed of weeds to one with freshly transplanted seedlings; from a lifeless flat of seeds to the adorable effort of seedlings breaking through the surface; from the blazing heat of the late afternoon to the sudden coolness of dusk. These things could not even be properly conveyed with a video camera; indeed, I will need to rely on my mind’s eye to recall the magic and labor of the past eight weeks on this land.
I also realized that I barely posted any recipes this entire summer. Today, during the same harvest, I also realized why. We cook with what we have, and although I definitely consulted recipes for inspiration and at times for concrete directions, the food preparation relies entirely on the available ingredients. Ingredients come first, culinary desires second, substantially reversing the way food is consumed by the majority of the Western world, and often myself. Additionally, the food this summer was all phenomenal due to a combination of factors that render recipes moot: a visceral connection with the produce, unbeatable freshness, the cooking talents of Justin and Quin, and the best sauce–the hunger built up from hours of physical labor.
Saying my good-byes will not be easy.