What is the "oppression of the harvest", anyway? It is a rather clever phrase that I heard for the first time this September while waiting in line for a cup of water with some equally thirsty attendees at the Seed Savers Exchange annual tomato tasting. So utterly descriptive, it is that point late in a successful, bountiful gardening season where fatigue sets in. There is no room in the freezer to accept any more frozen sauce, peppers or roasted eggplant pulp. Even friends and neighbors seem satisfied with what's been shared, and cry "uncle" when they see you coming with bags of more. Produce may linger on some of the plants until the fruit flies start buzzing, and the aromas get a bit funky.
This isn't meant to be at all flippant or careless. For every season that overwhelms comes one that underwhelms and leaves us wishing for so much more. For everyone who has the space and sun exposure and time for a garden, many others dream of such good fortune.
I am thinking of this topic today as the rain splashes down on our mostly empty gardens. A few last intrepid tomato plants shiver in their driveway pots, planted exclusively for seed saving for our Dwarf project. The side yard garden has some spent bales planted with garlic. And that is it. Having a vegetable garden is like riding a season long sine wave. The first salad created by robbing the first tender leaves of the lettuce plants quickly become bags of washed lettuce stuffing the fridge, groans when even considering another salad....and then the plants bolt. Snap beans for us are feast (not nearly often enough) or famine (due to the attacks of a plethora of ever changing critters). And on and on....
And then it is fall or winter, and we dream of plucking a sun-warmed Sun Gold cherry tomato from the vine and popping it in our mouth. We recall fondly roasting eggplant and making Baba Ganoush. Those dreams are what fires us up to do it all again. Successful gardening takes up nearly the entire year, when considering planning, planting (seeds), transplanting, planting (plants) - and then the maintenance, finally the harvests...preserving, seed saving - then the inevitable dearth of fresh vegetables.
So we now wish for the oppression of the harvest. Next year, I promise to better remember how valued all of that fresh produce is, by remembering how much it is now missed. I will can a few more quarts of tomatoes, freeze a few more bags of peppers, do what it takes to get us even further through these fresh veggie-barren times.