The theme for Gardening Gone Wild photo contest for September is Autumn Harvest. I was not inspired by our own drought-thirsted crops as considered what photo to enter. The above photo is from Wilson Farms near Boston. They make a fall tradition of gathering in some of the biggest pumpkins, squash, and gourds that you will ever see. They also have apples, cider, and a generally inspiring collection of wonderfully diverse market garden produce and flowers. If you have the opportunity it is well worth a visit.
However, I think for my entry I’m going to go with last year’s visit to Turkey. As we drove across the country we went from the fruit orchards of the coast to the equivalent of our midwest where the big crop is sugar beets.
We saw tractor after tractor towing in wagons of sugar beets. They drove them up a near vertical ramp to dump them out (see the red tractor in the upper left of the picture). Then the enormous piles of sugar beets were loaded onto big trucks for traveling across the country.
The source of the sweetness for some of those delicious baked goods is probably the molasses derived from sugar beets. The sugar beets are also used for one version of Raki, a distinctive turkish alcoholic beverage. But wait, the quest for an Autumn Harvest image goes further.
The small farm that we stopped at for an overnight stay operated with more of a traditional mixed crop approach. We were hosted by a multi-generational family that provided a wonderful meal for us. They offered that those who wanted to get up early could witness the milking the next morning. So I got up, along with several others, and toured the barn to see the milking (the whole farm reminded me of my grandfather’s place in Canada). Then we took an morning walk into the fields. . The early morning light fell on the stacks of reed-like plants that were as tall as the old traditional haystacks that you may have seen in the U.S.. In honor of the many hours that were required to create those twelve foot stacks I decided to submit this image as representative of Autumn Harvest.