Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Entire delight at Quail Hill Farm

Today was our first harvest day at Quail Hill, the community-sponsored farm we've joined. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, members come for harvest days, and the people who work the farm post signs to tell you what's ready, and how much you can pick. The farm's spread over twenty acres, and there are intensely cultivated fields, and an apple orchard, a barn, a chicken house, and greenhouses. Today, while the rain mercifully held off till we were almost done, we took our orientation tour and then picked our share of what was ready: four kinds of lettuce, arugula, pointy-leafed spinach with a slightly purple tinge at the leaf edge, pea shoots, sage flowers, chive flowers, bronze fennel,intensely-flavored lovage (like concentrate of celery) -- plus garlic scapes and ten astonishingly slender long whips of green and violet asparagus, which we had in an omelette for breakfast. But not before rushing through the radish rows as the rain began, and pulling up little eggs of scarlet, plum, white, and even the French breakfast kind with their scarlet tube tipped in a white point. All came with the brown rich Amagansett dirt clinging to their roots, which made a veritable skim of mud in the kitchen sink: beautiful food and beautiful earth. It's like getting your hands down close to the source, "the dearest freshness deep down things." But it comes with a reminder that Hopkins' "dearest freshness" is also a sign of vigor, of a great wild force moving up and through, out into the rainy light, as though whatever fueled the thunder also came pouring up through the new roots and into the upshooting leaves.


Heather O said...

Such bounty! The point in early summer when community-supported agriculture harvests start happening is so satisfying. (I'm a Brooklynite, so I don't have the delight of picking mine myself -- the farmer delivers it to a pick-up spot, and volunteers arrange the bins of radishes and beets and lettuces with signs telling how much to take from each.) I love the surprise of not knowing exactly what we'll be getting in a given week, and ending up with things like garlic scapes that I might never have thought to buy from a farmers market. Thank you for this post -- it's making me even more excited for our CSA season to start next week than I already was.

Mark Doty said...

Thanks, Heather. This is the first time I've been part of a CSA, and you're right -- what a pleasure to be offered things you probably wouldn't buy because you don't know yet how to use them. I love too that there are so many herbs, which one can just snip or pinch in small quantities, so that's already influencing what happens in our kitchen. The world seems more full.