The Food Farm Blog
I listened to a brilliant podcast recently where the narrator mentioned he’d lost his lust for story-telling. This resonates with me deeply in the middle of this pandemic lock-down.
But I’ve made myself get ‘back on the horse’ and re-start this blog.
I’ve sat with this feeling for a while, to try and understand it. I think mostly it’s because I don’t know how this story ends. I’m acutely aware we’re in the middle of a paradigm shift, the very precipice of the most significant years of my life I suspect. It’s that moment at the top of the roller coaster when you realize what’s coming, and you can’t help but hold your breath. To start writing again is, in some strange way, an exhalation.
I am equal parts scared and excited. The possibility for positive change has never been more, but it won't come without pain. I have this over-whelming sense of deja-vu, skipping ahead a couple of weeks and looking back, chastising myself with ‘but of course that was what was going to happen next’ but equally not having any clue about what actually happens next!
The suspense is tangible, I can feel it in my body, in my family, in the air. It’s the Wile. E Coyote moment of the leg spin before the drop off the side of the cliff.
And the strangest thing is The Food Farm. Every day we wake up in the middle of this abundant, beautiful place surrounded by the natural world. Every day Papatūānuku just rolls on; the sun rises, the birds sing, the crops ripen and demand our attention. I can’t work out whether Mother Nature is oblivious or deeply cognisant of what is going on- a subtle tip of the hand to re-balance a species which has caused so much harm. That has been our single biggest lesson over decades of growing food and wine. There is always balance; one year a drought, another too much rain. Two years small crops, two years larger. Three years early spring frosts, three years nor-westers. The only reason we don’t see the ultimate balance is because we’re not standing far enough back to see the pattern.
So I think she knows, but as a reminder of our insignificance she rolls on anyway.
And it is without a doubt our busiest four weeks of the growing season. It’s almost a perfect fit this lock-down. Placed neatly over the harvest season, a bit sticking out the beginning because of an early start to grape harvest and so, I suspect, a few days of quieter time at the end. We’ve been without Wwoofers but I've had the children and Nick at home, so there's been plenty of hands to help.
It’s been a magnificent harvest; wonderful weather, good crops and great quality. It’s impossible not to be grateful for that. And there’s a huge amount of satisfaction and peace within our bubble, preserving and storing for the lean months ahead. I don’t think I’ve ever been so aware of the cold darkness that’s coming.
We don’t celebrate Easter in the traditional sense. Easter takes its name from a pagan Goddess Eostre. She was all about spring and renewal (think resurrection). It’s why the enduring symbols are rabbits and eggs. This is a great article if you’re interested in the history.
There is absolutely nothing spring-like about this time of year in the Southern Hemisphere. Instead we are deep in harvest. Most years Good Friday and Easter Sunday are legislated days to ‘down tools’ from vintage. For that reason we’ve always celebrated this as a ‘Harvest Weekend’ and had a big lunch with local friends full of good wine and food from the season, a celebration of the abundance.
It’s been so poignant this year to have an empty table. The natural abundance has continued but there is a dearth of other human abundance and warmth.
If I remember nothing else about this time, it will be the most beautiful Good Friday weather, a perfect glory vine and a large empty table.
Drawing deeply on my diminishing ability to see abundance and plenty. Hold on tight Aotearoa.
A few most recent harvests to help with the abundance lens!