Holiday and Harvest Reflections

In the last few months, as the holidays flew by, my nights and weekends were filled with ugly sweater parties, gift exchanges, and extra family time. At each event there were lots of laughs, faces I missed, and spreads of delicious food. 

It’s fun to reflect on the year with loved ones, and my competitive streak always comes out playing cards and ping pong throughout the season. But this year, I caught myself looking at the tables of treats differently. Every Christmas cookie I saw and turkey I tasted reminded me of the friends I made on the Why I Farm Roadtrip.

As I savored the flavors at each holiday gathering, I wondered how my friends were celebrating their season. I felt a sincere thankfulness for their hard work in the harvest season, that made it possible for me to have colorful feasts from home in Iowa.

The more ate, the more I was inspired. I decided to check in with a few farmers that shared their Why I Farm stories last year for a glimpse of harvest on their operation.

Jay Hill, New Mexico

Harvest is colorful at Wholesome Valley Produce, Co. It takes specialized machinery and a skilled crew to harvest these chile peppers.

Adam and Diana Dellinger, Pennsylvania

Hops harvest is labor intensive, but many hands make light work. Breweries that purchase Adam and Diana’s hops often come out to the farm to experience the season for themselves.

Wayne Edgerton, Wisconsin

Wayne and his wife harvest all the hazelnuts on their farm by hand. Customers enjoy making candies and pies from their nuts.

Jenny Holtermann, California

Jenny’s family uses equipment to gently shake the almond trees until the fruit falls off. Later, a sweeper machine passes through to gather the crop.

Bob Hinton, Florida

For the Hinton’s it is family tradition that the grandkids harvest the first strawberries. They seem up to the task!

Fred Cowell, Hawaii

The harvest crew at Kauai Coffee Company works hard to bring in the coffee cherries, starting the journey to your cup.

Sichler Family, New Mexico

Around the country farm dogs keep their farmers company, greet customers, and lend a helping paw during the hustle and bustle of harvest.  Looks like Pebbles found a great pepper at Snake Ranch Farm Stores.

Terren Moore, Texas

Between his college coursework and community involvements, Terren harvests turnips to sell to his friends and neighbors.

Johnny Gordines, Hawaii

Holidays mean it’s harvest time at Tropical Flowers Express in Hawaii. Jonny Gordines’ bouquets are sent across the country to celebrate birthdays, weddings, and other special occasions.

John and Cara Gambini, Texas

John Gambini is the founder of Texas Hill Country Olive Company, but still gets out to help hand pick olives at harvest time.

Coley Jones Drinkwater, Virginia

Fall harvest season is especially busy on this Coley Jones-Drinkwater’s dairy. In addition to the twice daily milking, launching a creamery, and growing crops, the family farm hosts visitors to take part in fall fun and tours. 

Matthew Sligar, California

Harvest season means long hours in the combine for California rice farmer, Matthew Sligar. He shares the details of harvest, and the machines his family uses on his popular vlog, Rice Farming TV.

Cass and Erin Gilmore, Massachusetts

Cranberry harvest is so colorful! The ripe berries float and are raked and corralled onto a conveyor to lift them out of the bog. Did you know cranberry fields are only flooded at harvest?

Chuck and Diane Souther, New Hampshire

There is no such thing as an apple combine, so the fruit is handpicked. Chuck and Diane Souther enjoy selling their fruit, or turning it into delicious turnovers, pies, and cider.

Laura Rutherford, North Dakota

Sugar beet harvest takes lots of teamwork. Laura takes a shift driving the truck piled high with freshly dug sugar beets. Farmers in her area combine their sugar beets together at the local co-op where it is processed into white sugar you may have sitting in your own kitchen cupboard.

Harvest looks so different around the country – so many different crops, processes, and colors. As the ew year gets underway, I’m excited to enjoy every bite with the new perspective that a little reflecting on the holidays and harvest has given me. Happy New Year!

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