From Our Newsletter

Ripe with Opportunity for Releasing Expectations

Rosh Chodesh Tammuz

The Jewish tradition not only recognizes the four seasons divided by solstices and equinoxes, but also holds that there are six more nuanced seasons divided by full moons at specific points in the year. The full moon of Nisan, when we celebrate Passover, marks the beginning of the barley harvest and commences the season known as ketzir (harvest). Continuing through the end of the wheat harvest around the full moon of Sivan, the season of ketzir transitions to kayitz (summer, or literally, ‘end’). The end of the grain harvest season (hence the name kayitz) for our ancient ancestors would have marked a celebratory period, and an anxious period of uncertainty between the abundance of the wild foods and cultivated grains of spring and the majority of cultivated produce not coming to maturity until late summer or early autumn in the season known as hom (hot), which concludes at the full moon of Tishrei just before the time to sow next year’s grain would arrive.

 

Even in the bioregion where Yesod Farm+Kitchen is located, there is a lull in production at this time of year. As the temperatures warm, the climate tends to be a little more dry, and the daylight hours again begin to wane after solstice, there are a few weeks where the land slows down. It is an incredible lesson for a farmer, or any person observing the cycles of the earth, to monitor our expectations or desire to intervene. It can be frustrating when you want to enjoy the produce that is not yet mature, or you want to prolong the harvest of plants that are ready to enter dormancy or death. Yet, just as our bodies and minds need rest to appropriately redistribute energy for true productivity, so too does the earth. Unlike human bodies and minds in contemporary society, the earth’s natural rhythms ensure this. This lull during the season of kayitz ensures exactly that. 

 

Interestingly, in the Jewish ritual calendar there are no agriculturally related ritual moments observed between Shavuot (which occurs just more than a week before the full moon of Sivan) and the 15th of Av marking the beginning of the grape harvest and the end of the season of kayitz. The Jewish calendar is designed to reflect the natural rhythms of the earth. Our bodies are also designed to be in relationship with the natural rhythms of the earth - we are, after all, a part of the earth. This time of year is an opportune moment to release expectations, to step back from interventions, and to observe and learn. The season is literally ripe with the opportunity to do so.