“How do we consume in a way that does justice to the lives that we take?” – Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
A blue jay’s piercing cry punctuates the garden, cutting through me like the cold morning air. October has emerged in the russet hues of the vine maple leaves with shimmering dew hanging like diamonds, crowning every leaf. This time of year has always held a certain magic for me; I feel myself holding my breath, awed by this time of transition.
I walk down through the garden, passing the chicken coop on my way to the bee hives. My feet know this way, guiding me through tall brown grasses along a path I have carved out from my daily visits with the bees. Kneeling before the first hive, I’m greeted by the hum of the inner organism, an ecosystem of bees working in harmony with one another. I hum my own tune of thanks to the bees as I gently lift the lid of the hive, steeling myself as I prepare to harvest honey.
When I take from the world, the precepts of the honorable harvest are always on my mind. In the book Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer describes the honorable harvest as sustaining the giver as well as the taker. By honoring the harvest, I never take more than I am offered. In the case of our bees, I ensure that I don’t take more than the bees are able to give, leaving plenty of honey to sustain the hive over the winter. This ensures the longevity and health of the colony, reciprocally ensuring that there are future honey harvests.
With all the intention that was put into this honey, I am mindful of taking only one frame of honey from each hive. This is enough for the tasting room for October’s seasonal pairings, enough to treasure and share, to sweeten the tongue and the memories of summer flowers. I lightly brush off the remaining bees on the frame into their hive, whispering my thanks. I walk back up the hill, hands sticky with golden syrup, holding in my hand the distillation of all the flowers in this garden. I once again whisper my thanks to the bees, to the garden, to the land.
Farm to Table
This month, our tasting room menu features the following items from the Brooks Estate Garden: leeks, cilantro, heirloom tomatoes, French sorrel, garlic, onions, delicata squash, shallots, parsley, basil, beets, and jalapeño.
– With Love from the Garden, Shannon