Spring in the garden is traditionally a time of high tension, with the ever-present possibility of panic.
As the sap in the trees rises, so does the blood pressure, because it’s make-or-break time in many ways.
Fruit trees are at their most vulnerable when they’re flowering. A frost, or too much rain at the wrong time, or a disease outbreak, can severely impact the crop for the year.
On top of that, there are a million and one jobs to do, and it always seems to be the season when a crucial piece of equipment goes AWOL.
Can you tell spring can sometimes not be much fun?
The word ‘panic’ comes from ‘pan’, and Pan is the god of spring! In Greek mythology, he’s the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, of fields, groves, and wooded glens.
Reclaiming spring as a time of celebration and thanks
Pan is also connected to fertility and the awakening of all things. So some years ago, we decided to turn spring panic on its head and reclaim this season as a time for gratitude, feasting, and celebration.
It’s a welcome reframe of the sense of panic that can too easily consume us, particularly in those years when it rains too much!
It’s also an excellent time to thank the community of people – our village – who help us to run the farm.
The list of people who work with us or alongside us in some capacity on the farm has changed considerably over the years, but a couple of things always stay the same.
The first is family, in particular Katie’s dad Merv. He presides over the on-farm nursery, and is a constant but quiet presence in our lives; never interfering, but always providing support and having our backs. The rest of Katie’s family maintains an active interest in the family farm and are involved in many small and large ways.
The second constant is that there are a LOT of people involved in our place.
Back in the day when we were running the orchard ourselves, we had a great team who helped variously with pruning, markets, and thinning. Then there were the interns, the WWOOFers, and the volunteers.
Since we leased out the orchard and started the Harcourt Organic Farming Co-op, it’s a whole new crew.
And of course we’re also very grateful for all our Grow Great Fruit members, our appreciative and loyal customers, and the thousands of people who follow us on Facebook. It’s a pretty big village!
Replacing panic with eggs
In keeping with the spring theme, we often have an egg-based feast. Eggs appear in entree, main, and dessert, and oh boy, it’s delicious.
There’s usually a bonfire, which is welcome because it’s usually still pretty cold at this time of year, especially in the evenings.
If people stick around there are inevitably wine and marshmallows around the fire, and some music or singing.
It’s a great way to re-set, reframe, and declare the new season officially launched!