Laura Parker Roerden writes, consults, and speaks about kids’ connection to themselves, each other, and the earth. She directs Ocean Matters, a nonprofit that helps save threatened marine resources. She believes good food can connect us to the earth and one another and thinks today’s young people are reason to be hopeful about the environmental problems facing us. She lives on Jo-Erl Farm, a fifth generation family farm with her husband, three boys, and an assortment of fruit trees and farm animals. You can find her online at Salt from the Earth and on Twitter @LParkerRoerden.
Not too long ago I was walking along the remains of a footpath (in my surplice neckline dress) for horses in our historic New England town and was stopped in my tracks by the smell of ripe Concord grapes, which lined the path in heaving boughs of abundance.
I love that smell. It reminds me of the grape juice my grandmother made from wild grapes she found on the farm and canned in mason jars with glass tops and rubber stoppers.
Large fist sized clumps of grapes were snuck between broad leaves—like a hidden treasure—visible only when the dance between the light and the wind allowed. The grapes were so plentiful that in their ripening they had fallen onto the ground. Everywhere were crushed thick dark purple skins, oozing a sugary mess, with trails of ants working on carrying their treats back to their hidden cities. Now that is some farewell to summer, I thought.
Enjoying the Harvest surplice neckline dress…
Each year, I have my own tradition for bringing the season home: canning the contents of our vegetable garden with my dear childhood friend Jane Clarke. In the spring, we plant heirloom tomatoes with names like Cherokee purples, green zebras, black pears, and red calabash so that they will look pretty and taste like summers of yesteryear. And they do.
Come fall we preserve. Like the lines of ants carrying the remains of grapes, Jane and I carry boxes of mason jars from the trunk of Jane’s car and enlist lines of children to pick baskets of tomatoes from the garden. Then we busy ourselves for hours doing work that engages our hands, while we talk and laugh. I imagine that’s how my grandmother and great-grandmother did their canning in the very same farmhouse kitchen.
If Spring is about potential—all light and airy in pinks and sherbets— then late Fall is a passionate longing colored by the deeper shades of living: purples, reds, yellows, and oranges, like those found in this beautiful surplice neckline dress, Ruby by Karina Dresses.
And as the light of the season wanes, there is comfort and security in the knowledge that the seeds are safely tucked in the barn for the winter.