September 23, 2007

'Tis the Season... save seeds!

Autumn is approaching... more quickly than we would like to admit, but there is no denying the hint of chill in the morning air or the rapidly changing colors of the autumn leaves. There's also no denying that the garden has seen better days. Last week's frost took its toll on the squash plants and the corn, but happily, we are still eating heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers and a few sweet peppers.

It's easy to feel a few pangs of regret and disappointment that the summer garden is heading into its seasonal decline, but we're doing what we can to prolong the joy of the garden by looking ahead to next year's plans.

At this time of year, the kitchen at Fox Hill Farm is filled to the brim with the fruits of the harvest-- antique apples of various types; onions, onions, and more onions; tomatoes of all shapes, sizes, and colors; and seeds, in varied stages of the drying process. Because we have become seed savers.

Why save seeds? Seed packets, after all, are not exactly a high-priced extravagance-- of course we could simply buy new seeds next year. And yet there is something comforting and sentimental about the process of saving seeds, something akin to conservation and preservation and keeping something from extinction. Something about enjoying the harvest for the moment, yet setting aside the barest essentials needed to go on, the promise of spring and the continuity of life-- all in a tiny seed.

And so, while the harvest comes in and the days march towards autumn, our kitchen is home to a nursery of drying seeds, each laying dormant in hibernation until that faraway spring morning when they too will get their chance to bloom and grow.

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