Photojournal: Nature's first green is gold

Early mornings are becoming more golden as the summer wears off.  This is a short photo journal of a Saturday morning of harvest for the farm stand.

I arrive before everyone else, unlock the sheds, roll the carts out of the farm stand, set some tables up and get a few more things set out to get the transformation underway.  

 Farm stand "BEFORE"

Farm stand "BEFORE"

As a few youth farmers arrive, I'm washing out totes for lettuce harvest and filling the wash tubs with cool water to be ready for when the full cart returns.  We check in briefly before the team heads out to harvest strawberries and the farm stand managers go after lettuce.

 Washing totes at sunrise

Washing totes at sunrise

 Filling the wash tubs

Filling the wash tubs

I fill up some buckets of water and grab the pruners for flowers, make sure I have twist ties and totes for chard and eggplant, and head out to harvest.  We started harvesting a new bed of Swiss chard last week, so it's luscious, huge, vibrant, and thick-stemmed.  It's not hard to find twenty bunches, and I'm reminded of all the kale bunching in this area earlier this year.

 Swiss chard reminding me of the human body

Swiss chard reminding me of the human body

Next I'm into the sunflowers-- another new patch that came on a week or two ago.  It's behind the greenhouses in between corn plantings, so I'm surrounded by tall, glowing leaves and flower stalks.  I notice the moon still hanging in western sky beyond the dark red sunflowers, the sunshine dancing over the corn flowers, and I fill my buckets.

 Waning moon over sunflowers

Waning moon over sunflowers

 Early morning corn flowers

Early morning corn flowers

 Sunrise in the sunflowers

Sunrise in the sunflowers

 Two full buckets of sunflowers

Two full buckets of sunflowers

 Sunlight catches the petals

Sunlight catches the petals

I continue on to the mixed flower bed at the end of Field Two.  It's getting old, but there are still new flushes of statice, zinnias, strawflower, snapdragon, and scabiosa.  I spend a while gathering two more buckets of these smaller stems, feeling the warmth of full sun on my shoulders.  I'm just within ear shot of the farm stand, and I hear totes banging and voices floating through the orchard.

 Mixed flowers ready for market

Mixed flowers ready for market

One more stop in the greenhouses to snip a small tote of giant eggplants, and I head to the tubs to quickly dunk the chard.  They come out glistening.  I roll my colorful cart toward the hubbub of produce and conversations at the stand, set out the chard, and get to work creating bouquets from all these flowers.

 Swiss chard display

Swiss chard display

 Bouquet display

Bouquet display

The stand is nearly ready for customers, and I step back.  As the golden dawn subsides to day, all our hard work is laid out plain for everyone to admire, take home, and pass over their tastebuds.  Nothing wrong with the bright light of mid morning, but that sunrise sure does hit the heartstrings a little differently.  

 Farm stand "AFTER"

Farm stand "AFTER"

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay. 

-Robert Frost