Thanksgiving is this weekend – a perfect time to take a step back and acknowledge and name things for which we are grateful. The Pagan roots of this annual holiday all revolve around the end of harvest. As the fields that just a few weeks ago we’re lush, and full of life continue to turn brown, dry, and rot, it’s time for us to take stock of what has come and gone.
We are thankful for:
Spring was slow to start, but the wet weather early in the season allowed the seedlings to get a good start. And, even though there were stretches of extreme heat, none of the hail or damaging winds that often go along with the ensuing storms impacted the gardens here at Sunrise Gardens.
A Bumper Crop
A “bumper” used to be a large cup used for toasting, and filled to the brim with wine., and eventually (by the 1700s), came to refer to anything abundant or large. The great majority of our crops this year did outstandingly well: we had enough days over 25C to provide corn with fully developed kernels, our summer squash produced like crazy, and we had more berries come off our bushes than ever before. We were also quite amazed to see last week that we have several thousands of pounds of winter squash that are in great shape, and that we can sell throughout the winter.
We are blessed to have a great group of committed, hardworking and fun people working for and with us. Yes, the weather cooperated nicely, but without the hard work of everyone here at Sunrise Gardens, the crops we grow would still be out in the field, rotting. Farming is hard, physical labour, and the days are long and exhausting. We certainly couldn’t do this all on our own.
It’s not just our paid staff that deserves thanks. We give huge thanks to all of the people who’ve volunteered their time and energy throughout the year helping us out.
Also, in this, our third summer season as partners, Dawn and I continue to be amazed at how well we work together. Not many couples can live together and work together as well as we do, and we feel very lucky that the universe brought us together.
Our Family and Friends
Farming can really impact personal relationships. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our loved ones, who put up with not spending much time with us during peak growing season (and who got the overtired and kinda crabby versions of us when they did see us). This year was especially difficult, since we added the Onoway Farmers’ Market on Sundays, which has always been our one day off a week. We’re looking forward to being able to spend more quality time together, cuz we’ve missed ya!
We’re grateful for every single one of our customers who continue to support this venture with their grocery dollars. It was great to meet so many locals at the Onoway Market and to realize how much interest and support for the organic food movement is out there, even in rural Alberta. We’re happy that in Edmonton, subscriptions to The Organic Box program continues to grow, and that we are seeing an increasing number of new repeat customers at The Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market. On a personal note, I love that sending out this weekly newsletter has allowed me to connect a little more with our customer base, and I’m tickled that so many people take the time to read the newsletter every week.
We live and work on a beautiful piece of land, and give thanks for the opportunity to make our livelihood here. Our lives are opportunities for learning and growth. We’ve learned, for example , that we need to plant way more leeks next year, since we’ve already sold out, after just one week. We’ve also learned that if we over-extend ourselves, all areas of our lives suffer.
And we learn every day that the very act of honest gratitude has a way of working its own special kind of magic.
So as you sit down to stuff yourselves with turkey and all the fixings this weekend, I encourage you to remember that we call it thanks-giving for a reason.