By Candice Hackett
In the midst of the everlasting soggy chill that is January in the Pacific Northwest, I laid out my seed packets, took an inventory of what we had saved, made a list of what we would need, drew a diagram of how we’d plan to shape the garden, and began to dream of the food and flora that would nurture our hearts, home, and community.
In our three years of gardening, I have found that my joy is complete when I am able to share our gifts of the earth. From tiny posies made by tiny hands, jars of dried chamomile for tea, bundles of kale, baskets of berries, handfuls of fresh herbs, a wagon full of zucchini, garlic, peas, beans, pumpkins, oh the list goes on and on. Whoever I can coax into our garden and whatever I can send them away with is something I will always find such pleasure in.
To keep from growing weary through the drizzly and muddy months, I began dream to of The Harvest Dinner—a celebration of the heart of our gardens and the friendships that have grown in and through them. I later shared the idea with some of my dearest friends and it didn’t take long before we were able to draft a full menu that would be made entirely from scratch and/or food that had been grown and raised between our gardens and farms.
Together we had apples, pears, grapes, blackberries, kale, garlic, herbs, eggs, beets, pumpkin, squash, chicken, pickles, jams, and flowers a plenty. When we put it together our menu boasted a seasonal and communal feast that not only delighted our senses, but filled our hearts, and satisfied every moment of effort that had been put forth in the nine months it took to prepare for this meal, The Harvest Dinner.
On the day of our gathering, we arrived at Norman Farm with tables set upon a golden field while Autumn's hand turned the leaves which surrounded. Every one of us there had given so much of our hearts and hands in the months, weeks and days preceding this anticipated moment. Even the children were able to know the satisfaction of their contributions, each having been in, and alongside the process from the days of sowing seeds to filling the table with our bounty.
The real marvel of the Harvest Table all aglow in candlelight was the mirror back to the thousands of hours of unseen labor and unwavering resolution. And set before me, was the manifestation of my innermost hope, a feast and friendships of the purest form. A ceremony of holy gratitude.
To end our festivities, we walked by lantern light down to the pond. A perfect thrill for the children to be party to a procession of twinkling fairies. A wonder of a sight. And for me, an ode to the darker months approaching, that we may remember the warmth and light that carried us here, that remains within us, and will return to the garden again.
- Roast chicken
- Pumpkin soup
- Roasted beets
- Kale salad with roasted pears, maple pecans, and honey dressing
- Long fermented sourdough bread and rolls
- Homemade berry jam
- Roasted pumpkin seeds
- Vanilla cake
- Fresh pressed grape juice
- Sparkling water with blackberry simple syrup
- Charcuterie board which included garden grown vegetables and sourdough crackers
Place tag favors: handmade seed packets made from recycled packaging paper and filled with flower seeds harvested from our garden.
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