It is only now beginning to sink in that tomorrow, Tuesday, my boys and I won’t be going to Flying Plow to pick up our CSA share. For the first time in three years the season doesn’t end with the anticipation of beginning anew in May, after a time for the fields (and their keepers) to take a well-earned rest. Instead this season is a finale of sorts, as Tom and Sarah prepare to move their operation north to their new farm.
At the final regular Tuesday pickup last week, there was nostalgia, and some sadness, as CSA members congratulated Sarah on finally closing the sale of the new land. There were hugs and goodbyes, and some “see you in the spring!” promises from those who have already rejoined next year. It likely won’t be our family, though, because we are also moving to a new home in Monkton, and the distance and logistics involved in a weekly CSA pickup become rather less sustainable.
I met Tom and Sarah during their first year, shortly after they dug through ten feet of Snowmaggeddon drifts to erect their first greenhouse. Back when their newly launched CSA had all of 30 members (if memory serves). I wasn’t one of them — we belonged to another CSA that year — but as we became friends, I got to witness their hard work, intelligence and commitment to sustainability and organic agriculture. The next year my family became proud Flying Plow members, and ever since we have been enjoying the bounty of Tom and Sarah’s hard work, along with the work contributed by many interns and volunteers as well as some very hard working plow horses.
When my own economic fortunes took a downturn and I could no longer afford to purchase a share, they generously offered a workshare arrangement where I would write this blog in exchange for enjoying more righteously raised vegetables than I sometimes knew what to do with. My boys and I have many happy memories from our days at the farm: picking strawberries and stringbeans and Sungold tomatoes, petting the horses, and frolicking in the fields through the ice cream socials and fall harvest parties that immediately became touchstone events in our year.
So this week, as we gather at Thanksgiving, I will be giving thanks for all the usual things. But I will also be voicing a special, specific gratitude for the past four years. For getting to know Tom and Sarah, and for the nourishment – both food and friendship — we have received through knowing them. Thank you for the feast. Not just the ritual holiday we celebrate this week, but for all the seasons before as well.
I would also like to say that I have greatly enjoyed writing this blog, and getting to know other members who so generously shared their cooking knowledge and culinary creativity. I always felt like I was getting such the better part of the work-share deal, because it was always fun, and I will miss everything about Flying Plow. The food, of course – it will be difficult if not impossible to find another CSA with such dedicated and gifted farmers raising such impeccably, deliciously sustainable animals and vegetables. But also the place, and the people. Thanks, everyone.