Greetings from Stony Point Center Farm! I’m excited to get this chance to share my reflections and update everyone on some of the projects we’ve been doing on the farm

What a beautiful time of year; teeming with life, anticipation, and transition. As a first-year full-time farmer, apprenticing with Farmer Will, I am quickly learning to feel and experience the many shifts a farm goes through within a season.

summer institute groupAs a community we are transitioning from the presence and experience of having the Summer Institute students with us and a part of the farm crew, to sadly no longer having these lovely people around.

The four women who were a part of the program this year had a chance to experience many aspects of the farm. Early on in their stay, they transplanted melons into the hoop house. Although they didn’t have a chance to harvest any, the fruits of their labor are quite literally visible and growing beautifully! The beginnings of the more intensive harvest season began just in time for them to take part. They helped in harvesting our summer squash, cucumbers, beets, and broccoli, and also helped begin our long anticipated tomato harvest. Cornerstone Garden’s flower plantings lent themselves to delightful flower harvesting, and of course they took part in everyone’s favorite past-time--rock picking and weeding--a perennial farm experience.

Thanks to the hard work of the students, we are very excited to introduce shiitake mushroom production to the SPC farm. They spent time preparing the mushroom logs, drilling holes, pounding in the mushroom spore dowels, and covering each hole with wax. I hope they all come back to visit and have a chance to see the produce of their hard work in a year’s time. It has been an absolute pleasure learning and growing alongside this year’s Summer Institute students.

water on kaleAlong with the ending of the Summer Institute came another transition for me--the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a month where I joined Muslims around the world fasting from food and water from dawn to dusk. While I’ve fasted my fair share of Ramandans, this was my first experience of fasting while farming.

Ramadan is often a time that opens up space for deep reflection and prayer, and what better place to experience that then in the gardens? My connection with food, water, and the earth became intensified as I removed myself from eating or drinking but spent my fasting hours planting, harvesting, and watering food. This year one of my more significant Ramadan reflections surrounded my privilege to accessing water. I know now, as someone who has fasted while farming and who has watered thirsty seedlings while very thirsty myself, that I have never been grateful enough for the water that is so readily available to me. Thirst is a very humbling experience--the clean water I have available to me to quench my thirst and to water the food I eat is a privilege I need to always be aware of and this Ramadan in particular allowed me to see that.

tomato harvestAs August approaches so begins another major transition for the farm - the busy harvest season. The kale, collards, lettuce, summer squash, and broccoli harvests continue and we are nearing the end of an abundant cucumber harvest as well. We’ve begun taking beets out of the field and the carrot shoulders are making their way to the surface. The tomato plants in the hoop house have surpassed seven feet and the fruit is just beginning to ripen. The plants in the field are heavy with fruit and not very far behind in turning red as well. It is truly a beautiful time of year, a time of plenty and a time of gratitude for all we have been blessed with. Hoping you can join in the blessing and appreciation for the gift of food and water we’ve been given.

Happy harvesting!