by Nisargo Troy
Recently I went with Mimi, one of our elders at Heartwood and an exceptional cook, to our gardens to harvest some beans for the common meal she was preparing. Finding bean after bean after bean in the bushes until there was enough to feed those who had signed up for the meal was such a joy to both of us! As we slowly filled our bag, I noticed happily a few red tomatoes on the huge tomato vines. “Soon” I thought, "we will have many tomatoes to harvest. What a glorious feast that will be.”
Two days later, Sandy, an experienced gardener, who I had shared this discovery with, was sitting in front of one of those huge tomato vines turned bushes, held up by wire cages, and said, grinning, “Want to see some tomatoes?” And as I bent down I saw them, hidden from sight, deep inside the dark green cave, glowing like gems, red, juicy and beckoning to be picked and eaten. She filled a huge bowl, which was the first of many, to bring up from the garden.
I am not a gardener. I was never drawn to the bent back, sore hips and knees, sweating in the heat kind of thing that gardening was to me. Not until a pandemic slowed me down enough and gave me time to reflect upon the gift of having land available, right where I live, to grow food for and with my friends. So I joined a group of experienced growers and have become a believer! Look at that spread during our 'free famers market' at the common house! And look at the many ways the produce grown here, either in the community garden or in people's back yards, is being used. Phenomenal! I just wish I could share images of everything members have been making, but that would make this newsletter way too long.
So, here it is: a walk through Heartwood’s kitchens if you will. Enjoy!
On a recent Sunday, we celebrated the apple harvest with a large cider pressing party. Some members went out to harvest the day before, within the cluster and along county roads. The next day everyone could partake in working the press and then bottling the delicious fresh cider. Our newest members, the Madranos, are promising fermented apple cider at a common meal in a few weeks. Yum! Here are from the left: Adrian, Henry, Alana, Lincoln, Jason and Acer enjoying the fun!
The truth is, we have more than we can use of almost everything. So we share. We definitely share with each other, and we use what we can for our common meals. All of the nice, fresh produce we cannot use at Heartwood, we take to the local food share program, Pine River Shares. The damaged produce goes to the pigs, the wilted or tougher greens go to the chickens, and the skins, stems, and cores go into our compost bins.
And in winter we get to open all those jars and enjoy the taste of summer once again!
“And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:
Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”
― Khalil Gibran
The Heartwood Happenings newsletter offers glimpses into everyday life here at Heartwood. To have Heartwood newsletters delivered right to your inbox, click on the GET IN TOUCH button at the bottom of this page.