One of the saddest moments of the year (perhaps I exagerate? not so) arrived on Friday—the final farm share pick-up at Town Farm. Sad, because we’ll miss our weekly visits to the farm—we’ve enjoyed the delicious bounty and the neighborhood-y feeling, as in CSA-shareholders create a ‘hood of sorts—and because the earth is turning inward, somehow and so will the people. It’s not only sad, of course, though, this marker (none of the autumn markers are, in fact, even for one who struggles to find the up sides to winter). It also felt kind of triumphant, as in, thank you amazing farmers for feeding us so well and as in, thank you cheery CSA’ers for making the sense of camaraderie feel so great, and thank you Oona and Ben’s baby-just-about-to-emerge for waiting out the season (give Oona a little rest this week or two and then come on out, so you can busy up their winter!).

If Facebook was a reasonable litmus test, I know that I’m not alone in farm share adoration. My friends belong to a range of farms around here (and in other parts of the country, too) and the farm share pick up is a Facebook status update staple. And is there an attendant recipe swap? Check. (If you, like me, have no idea how to deal with certain vegetables of the big winter squash variety, check out A Bushel of What? This blog by Nicole Kutcher of Easthampton is hopping with recipes and tips).

Our share season is ending as news became official in the past couple of weeks that the Food Bank Farm is ending. Like so many others in the Valley, I was really saddened by this news. I loved my years at the Food Bank Farm, for one thing, so there’s a little pure, simple selfishness (and as I’ve written about, the strawberry field is high on the short list for favorite locations in the Valley). But more than any sadness is really gratitude, to Michael Docter, farmer and wordsmith and champion of sustainability and farming and teaching farming extraordinaire, for all he’s done to transform so many of us into champions of and admirers of farmers. CISA’s Local Hero was a phrase coined for Michael, I’m pretty sure. He’s got a new venture churning—insert some good compost metaphor here—and I’m eager to see what happens next in the life of this particular farmer. So many of the farmers around here in this new generation of CSA farms apprenticed with Michael, so even if you’ve never been to the Food Bank Farm, if you belong to Mountain View Farm in Easthampton or Town Farm or many others, you owe Michael a big tip of the sweaty-brimmed hat.

This coming week, we’ll say goodbye to the Tuesday Market and next week Saturday’s Market (November 7th), as well. This past Tuesday, the change, from so many varieties of squash and apples to the sweater-clad shoppers, felt like a season turning, as well. The hang out for the afternoon vibe of summer—lazy, hazy daze—had been replaced by industriousness or something (candidates’ signs held in the courtyard rather than musicians playing, for one). As ever, I bought a peck of apples from Sarah at Apex, and thought about how I’d miss this ritual (the apples, the friendly connection). As ever, I’ll miss seeing all the stands, the people there I’ve come to know (or knew already, like Laura and Ben and enjoy seeing there each week). Saskia napped through our visit, parked by Town Farm’s stand (home base). The sun, glorious that day, had a golden harvest tinge, I swear.

Like the neighborhood of CSA’ers, I’ll miss the chatty hellos on Tuesdays and Saturdays (where I often zip through buying little or nothing, but enjoy the stroll, the flowers, the veggies, and the greetings). CISA—Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture—has news of ways to connect to CSA's and farming year-round, including winter markets on its website, so this great farmer’s market energy is not entirely lost until May. It won’t be the same, but it’s exciting to see our Valley embracing a more year-round view to connecting with its farmers.

On the heels of Halloween, darkness will fall back an hour, another step in the march toward winter. I’m going to look hard for what I like about winter (I suspect I’ll write about that, too). Inward, turning inward, I’m going to mull that one not just in terms of our doing so, but I’m going to imagine the soil resting and the earth itself refueling, rest hard-won (for the farmers, too) after all that work to extricate so much bounty from the warm, growing seasons. I think I may even feel pretty okay about the winter coming this year (gasp). Time will tell.