In his 2011 ballad “Harvest Time,” country heartthrob Luke Bryan sums up small town life in the fall with an emotional word picture. “It’s harvest time in this little town,” he croons. “Time to bring it on in, pay the loans down, fill the diesel tank and make another round.” Later in the song, he sings about “Bobby’s mother” bringing supper to the field, the boys remembering to hug her before they climb back on the combine to “saddle up and let the big wheels roll.”
I grew up in a small Iowa town and this song just about sums up my entire childhood. Although I was a “town kid” and not a true “farm kid,” when you live in a small rural community, you’re all farm kids. Bryan recalls in his ballad the football games and the marching band, the wheat dust filling the air and the big moon coming up in the sky. We’re not harvesting wheat, field corn or soybeans on Nantucket, but we’re definitely a small “rural” community that’s fortunate enough to have several working farms where the “crops” get harvested in the fall.
I was mesmerized by the image in the photo a couple weeks ago as I biked up Bartlett Road. This local farmer was bringing in one of Bartlett’s Farm‘s lettuce crops planted in the summer. He doesn’t have to truck it far to get it to their greenhouse where it’s washed and bundled and available for locals to enjoy fresh greens well into the fall. The passion they have at our local Nantucket farms is no different from the Iowa farmers I have the pleasure of knowing. The crops may differ, but the dedication and zeal are the same.
Like other agriculture centers around the world, Nantucket farmers don’t limit themselves to row crops. Many raise livestock ranging from chickens to sheep to those beloved belted Galloway cows who greet visitors to Bartlett’s Farm. On the Grey Lady, we’re fortunate to be able to harvest other unique “livestock” like scallops, oysters and clams…which is something I know my Midwest friends find fascinating, but also have deep respect for. We may not yet be a “fully sustainable” island, but we certainly work hard to invest in homegrown commodities and organizations like Sustainable Nantucket have made it their priority.
If you live on the island, be sure you continue to make the most of all the fall harvest crops. Stop by Bartlett’s Farm or Moors End Farm and grab some fresh salad greens, acorn squash or pumpkins for your holiday pie. If you’re visiting this fall, watch for the word “local” on all the restaurant menus as virtually all of them take full advantage of our locally grown delicacies. If you happen upon a farm hand or fisherman bringing in their spoils, be sure to stop for a chat about how their season is going. And don’t forget to thank them for working tirelessly to ensure we have the luxury of fresh, local, sustainable fare.
Bring it in.
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