Sunday, September 20, 2009
This time every year the bowl shows up on the dinner table, kitchen counter, somewhere in the house and it's a sign that the fresh dry beans are soon to come. As we're running around tending to the tomatoes, tying the peppers, weeding the beets for a fourth and fifth time, and harvesting for restaurants and the St. John's farmer's market, the bean varieties we direct seeded into the ground in May and June have quietly grown in our "backfield". We've stopped watering them long ago and their pods have dried to a crisp, making them ripe for harvest. In the moments of our quick tours to friends around the farm we show off the beans, always picking a few pods to check how they are coloring up, and inevitably they end up in our pockets to be deposited in the bowl. The bowl represents years of seed saving, as we've worked hard to grow out the small amounts acquired at seed exchanges. Practically, it means more hours on the farm, as the processing requires the choreography of clipping the beans, hauling them to our improvised thresher, screening them to remove stems, pods, and leaves, winnowing to remove smaller bits of chaff, screening them once more for smaller dirt to be left out in the field, and finally hand sorting to remove the undesirables that still make it through. Look for pics of that to come, but for now, we have the bowl.