The Bountiful Harvest…

Jean, who has become like a grandmother to me, is an inspiration in all ways…

When I think about the most enriching relationships that I have in my life, I think about the people from older generations, who have a few more years under there belt then I do.  Those connections are prized and true because there is so much to learn from them.  They have grown up in a different time and a different culture and have patience and intuition that younger generations have yet to tap into.  Through them I have become a better me, and with that, I trust myself more and more with each passing day.

I have found some incredibly inspiring and wholesome connections through the farming community on the Cape and across the U.S.  That true sense of community, I’ve always felt  missing in my life, has now been filled by the people who are connecting with themselves and the earth in some way or another.  The woman at the heart of it all on the Cape is, of course, Ms. Jean Iverson of The Kelly Farm, the woman I had the pleasure of working with 3 years ago and has become like a grandmother to me (some pictures of my summer working with Jean here).   But there are also many other people on the Cape that I look up to and have connected with and some who I look forward to getting to know better as time goes on.

Jean is just a great example of the importance of having older mentors in your life.  Her life experience, positive energy, natural intuition and genuine passion and love for all that she does is truly inspiring to be around.  A friend once said of Jean, “I saw the picture of Jean and I love her smile. It’s exactly where I want to be.” Through all the moments I’ve spent with her, big or small, there is always something to be inspired, thoughtful and reflective about.

The farm’s lovely signage from scenic Route 6A…

So, in keeping in that vein, since I’ve been back, my dad and I have made a few trips out to Tim Friary’s, Cape Cod Organic Farm in Barnstable and Jack Stacy’s, Matt’s Organic Gardens in Dennis.  My dad has made friends with Tim over the past year or so and definitely looks up to him and what he’s doing to re-establish the old county farm off Rt. 6A.  I also had the pleasure of joining him and Jean for a day, a few years back, when we attended the NOFA Winter Conference together.

So, I was excited to finally get my butt over to the farm and check it out… just seeing it as we pulled in filled me with excitement!  With lots of beautiful farm land, a farm stand full of gorgeous seedlings, the biggest chicken coop I’ve ever seen and some amazingly large mama pigs, I almost forgot about the drizzly rain amidst all the farm beauty.  Ahh, farm dreams….

Dad was enjoying himself in the bountiful greenhouse full of heirloom tomatoes..

A little bit later, we stopped by Jack’s greenhouses to check out his operation and invest in a few rare heirloom tomato varieties.  Jack specializes in over a 100 heirloom varieties of tomatoes and beautiful peppers, eggplants & herbs.  It was here that we realized we shouldn’t go to garden stores together because deep down we both want to buy everything.  Jack was very patient and willing with our tomato related questions and it was a pleasure speaking with him.  I left him my number in hopes of volunteering over there a few times sometime this season.

Connecting with them reminded me of the great and unlimited wealth of knowledge that’s within our own communities.  Knowledge people are more than willing to pass down and share with the younger generations.  You just have to be willing to put yourself on a limb and I guarantee most will welcome you with big, open arms… it’s perhaps the most bountiful harvest there is, simply, learning from someone else’s life time of living.  So, here’s to spending a little more time with friends new and old, in the coming years, to establish a stronger connection to myself, the (farming) community, the land and the sea, and our shared home of Cape Cod.

First view of the farm which consists of 97 acres, 30 of which are tillable..
Tilling under some of the copius amounts of Rye cover crop (strawberries in the foreground)..
A lovely view of beets, swiss chard, mesclun…
The glorious chicken coop.. home to 400 or so chickens!
One of these hens might be our chicks mothers… we got the fertilized eggs from Tim’s farm…
There’s plenty of space for everyone…
A coop on wheels…
A most pleasant view from the yard…
The sound of them inside was unlike anything I’ve ever heard.. a whole choir of chickens, all in unison..
Lovely lady silhouettes…
There is always work to be done… even in the gloomiest of spring like weather…
And we’re off to Matt’s Organic Gardens, run by Jack Stacy…
Herbs, greens & onions, oh my!
Dad checkin’ out & admiring his extra raised beds of mixed greens…
Which look good enough to eat… mmmm… (and yes, I stole a little bite)
Besides greens he had fennel, beets and carrots (see below)..
And the best part is there is no bending involved when harvesting… I’m so going to try this out!
With a 100 or more different heirloom varieties our senses were on overload…
We weren’t expecting to buy any tomatoes since we started all our own from last year’s seeds…
But a half an hour later we were still wandering around reading about all the different varieties…
And I knew we weren’t going home empty handed.  We both wanted to go home with one of each but settled for 16 new varieties to try out this year..
A big ol’ spider hanging out on some lovely basil..
A friend who didn’t seem to be afraid of me or my big camera…
Back home to the cold frame, green house & our happy bees…
Who are now thriving with their new queen… ♥
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