Blackberry Life

The Character of the Seasons

In all of my 19 years spent working at Blackberry Farm, I would have to say that from beginning to present every season has been memorable. One of our greatest features here at the Farm are our four seasons. Each season that we experience at Blackberry Farm has such unique character.

Beginning with Winter, the mountains and surrounding landscapes are etched with subtle earth tones, and the absence of leaves gives us a new perspective of the landscape’s anatomy.

When Spring arrives, it signals a new beginning as our fields spring to life in varying tones of green. During the days of Spring, we are busy seeding plant trays with tomatoes, peppers and other vegetable varieties which will be set out in our gardens with the beginning of warm days and nights.

Then comes our Summer season when we are occupied on a daily basis with the harvesting of our Summer’s bounty. When I think about a season to remember, the Fall season comes to mind. Fall is the season when our crops have all reached maturity and await harvesting.

As a seed saver, this is the season when all of our Summer farm labor comes to fruition. It is the time when all of our varieties have reached full maturity for seed saving purposes.

Field pea plants are heavily laden with dried pods and cornfield beans with the leathery, wrinkled dry pods that cling to bean vines that have wound their way up cornstalks during the days of Summer. Trellised structures covered with butterbeans are filled with pods ripening in the warm, late Summer sun.

I find myself in a nostalgic mood when I am picking those heirloom varieties. I am reminded of those who came before me and were the caretakers of those heritage varieties. I try to imagine what their lives were like, and I picture them at work in the fields caring for the crops and varieties which have now been entrusted to me so that I can pass those seeds on to future generations.

For me, Fall is a very special season to remember because that is the season when all of us as seed savers strive to have our seeds of preservation “in the bank”.

John Coykendall, Master Gardener

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