Passage of time in a timeless world
A visit to Vinny's Farm Stand in Saugerties, New York, as the harvest season ends.
Photos and Text by Eric F. Coppolino
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You may remember my photo series from August 23 from Vinny’s Farm Stand in Saugerties, NY (the most-viewed page on this Substack). Those pictures were taken at the height of the harvest season. I go to Vinny’s at least once every weekend; it’s where I do most of my food shopping. He sources all of his fresh and handmade products from farmers he knows personally, and there is nothing gentrified about the place. It is what it’s been for more than 50 years.
Photos from Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023
I have a new series of photos for you today, which reveal changes in the light, the colors and the environment just six weeks later. That’s half of a season, from just after Lammas (Lúnesa) to just after equinox. Lúnesa is the first harvest or second planting; Samhain or Halloween six weeks later is the ‘final harvest’.
While we are told there are four seasons, there are really eight; each official season (the time span between an equinox and a solstice) has a tipping point where you can feel and see the changes. This is more noticeable in a country or rural environment than in a city.
The Sun was lower in the sky, and it was a rainy day. The greens had mostly faded, though not in all the plants. But it’s a different green than at high summer.
You can’t really see them, but on the right at the back of this greenhouse is a famly of fluffy gray cats — a mom and three kittens about eight weeks old. The four of them were looking at me languidly. I would have gotten a little closer but there was not an easy path to them. So I just said hello at a distance.
To my soul, there is a real poignancy to seeing these plants that were not sold and therefore that did not get a chance to grow. Above is a miniature landscape of them.
Autumn crops include apples, gourds, pumpkins, squash, garlic and onions (technically squash and pumpkins are gourds, but I mean the non-edible, decorative kind). There are still some tomatoes and concord grapes, too. This time of year, the color scheme fades and shifts toward brown. There’s less contrast and less light.
Vinny’s has apples well into the winter. They keep pretty well. Personally I’m not a big fan of most apple varieties, though there are still some Asian pears (dense brown pears that are shaped somewhat like an apple, which grow locally at this latitude).
This has been a working farm business for more than 50 years, taking many forms. This time of year you can see the passage of time in the longer sense.
Tech note — these photos were all made using a Zeiss fixed focal-length, fully manual 17mm lens, mostly with the aperture open all the way (f2.8). I shoot in full frame, so you get a wide perspective. This lens makes no decisions for you, but does anything you want if you ask it nicely. I am pretty sure the shot below (of sunrise over the Hudson River) was made with the same lens, two summers ago from right in the same approximate neighborhood.
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