A coolish Memorial Day weekend, don’t put the wool away yet. Our third market at Great Barrington, our first at Copake-Hillsdale Saturday felt more like early October than late May.
As much as tradition has this weekend as the partying kickoff to summer, the low clouds, mist and chilly rain feels more in tune with the original intent of the holiday: remembering those who gave their lives in service of their country, those who never made it home. The US, as the Civil War was the originator, but for me I also think of my mother’s Canadian family, her uncle Colin who died at Arras, age 23, and for whom she was named Coline. And for whom I named les collines.
Well. The rhubarb is in, strawberries won’t be long now. Sour cherries, black raspberries, and gooseberries by mid-July. Here, we are in the calm before the harvest storm, taking stock and rising early and keeping our eye on all the balls, moving fast in so many directions…
We presented to a group at the National Farm Viability Conference in Albany last week, under the auspices of the Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation’s Farm to Food Business Accelerator program. Our final FFBA event will be in two weeks; it has been a learning, demanding, enriching program with benefits I think most of us could not have foreseen.
New stores stocking les collines! Historic Hudson’s beautiful Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, and delighted to be back on the western side of the Hudson, rive droite, in the Catskills at soon to open lovely Ella’s Mercantile in tiny Halcottsville.
As I wrote in the last post, some really exciting news to announce: We are about to launch a crowdfunding campaign to grow les collines, with the dedicated food entrepreneur platform PieShell. Founded by a wonderfully engaged and energetic Canadian, Cheryl Clements, it is the perfect vehicle for les collines to connect more deeply with our community and kindred spirits of taste and vision near and far. Follow us in social media for updates coming very soon.
It is an incredibly busy, demanding time, a lot going on is an understatement on all levels, and though high adrenalin it can be far more than feels manageable at times. At those moments, cliché perhaps but I look for strength to those who have gone before, my Huguenot ancestors who fled persecution to settle Annapolis, my Scots Highland ancestors who fled the Clearances for Cape Breton. My grandfather who walked what today is a long four-hour car ride, from Antigonish to Port Hood, in a snowstorm to get home for Christmas. Colin’s older brother, despite a sniper’s shot four days before Armistice he made it home from Europe to finish law school and serve as Nova Scotia’s premier and wartime Canadian naval minister.
The Robert Burns grace known as the Selkirk that hung in my grandparents’ dining room at Winwick, their house in Halifax, reads
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.
Perspective, check. The insurmountable is totally, mountable. Just keep it real, pull it back to the essential. Breathe. Believe. In fact that is how les collines was born.
So in this tiny lull the next few days, in between showers we will be trying to get the garden in, mostly heirloom tomatoes and herbs for les collines. This year it may be a bit limited; we considered foregoing as so much abundance is available so close. But to not have a garden, to not look out and see it happen and have reason to go put my hands in the soil feels way too much of an absence.
Because spring, green xo