BY PLANTING PUMPKINS IN THE MIDDLE OF A GLOBAL PANDEMIC, FARMERS PROVIDE PEACE AND HOPE FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE AHEAD.
In the early days…
Early mornings are not a new experience for farmers, to the contrary, they are a staple in their household just like the fresh local crops that they grow each year.
With our busy lifestyles it’s easy for us to forget about all of the hard work that is involved in getting our food from a seed to our dinner table. We rush home from work exhausted and grab that piece of produce from the neat and convenient display in the grocery stores produce section, not having the time to even give a second thought to how it got there in the first place. All we can think about at that point is grabbing that perfect morsel for whatever recipe we plan to create that night and rushing home to get that dinner on the table. But, should we think a little bit more about where our produce comes from and the process that it needs to go through in order to really appreciate it more? I think a back story is an important step in educating our younger generations about the cycle of food and the importance of being good stewards of our land resources. Anyway, who doesn’t love a good farm story?
For our purposes, let’s talk pumpkins since they have already been planted in the hopes of a great fall harvest. In farming, planning is a must, if you don’t plan for fall pumpkins in the spring, then you just miss your window and your crops will fail. Luckily for us at Remlinger Farms, Farmer Gary is an excellent planner!
Way back when all that most of us could think about was getting enough of that coveted toilet paper, Gary was forward thinking about maintaining the NW crops and fresh food supply chains. Farmers don’t get a day off from caring for the farm even during a pandemic. While everyone else is scrambling for their vital supplies utilizing delivery or pick-up, farmers like Gary are getting up at dawn and riding their tractors to the fields to plow and make sure that vital food keeps flowing to all the NW households. Just one of those many crops that he tends to yearly is our fall pumpkins.
It is way too cold to start the pumpkin seeds outside in the fields during the spring, not to mention that they tend to be a real convenient and yummy snack for most birds when they are in their vulnerable seed state. That’s where the greenhouse comes in real handy. The seeds are planted in small containers in the greenhouse in Mid- April in anticipation of putting the new seedlings in the fields by mid- May after the last frost of the season. Now the real work begins!
Fast forward to mid-May when all the seedlings have been carefully planted in neat rows in the perfectly cultivated ground that farmers like Gary spend years creating, talk about preparation! They craft a perfect blend of soil, utilizing skillful crop rotation and strategic planting in order to return vital nutrients needed for the fields to produce for years to come.
A little help from Mother Nature!
Now we need a little help from Mother Nature and some of her hardest working crew, THE BEES!
These little ones come in and do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to crops. They are so vital to the food chain around the world, without their diligent work of pollinating the plants, no one gets to eat!
Things are looking hopeful though, the bees come and do their job and give the plants what they need to grow the vibrant orange blossoms that will eventually become a happy orange pumpkin in the fall.
Are we there yet?
Nope, not quite yet but so close! The blossoms will continue to grow and eventually they create a small green pumpkin that will begin to ripen in the late summer sun. Pumpkins will grow all through July and August, slowing down a bit during late August through September, bringing them to their perfect peak of ripeness by harvest time at the end of September and all through October.
So what’s the end game here?
Farmers not only provide food, but they give us a sense of peace, they renew life and create hope for a brighter tomorrow. There is just something special about returning seeds to the soil and watching them grow new life, the beginning of a new cycle. Our final reward for all those months of hard work here at Remlinger Farms would have to be seeing the smiles on all the faces of the folks that visit our pumpkin field every fall just looking for that perfect pumpkin that Gary lovingly planted in the spring!