I know exactly how it happened. I got busy and the beets began to pile up. They began to pile up on top of the piles of carrots. They were making it impossible to fit another celery root in the vegetable bin. I got too busy because...well, that's just how life is too often. You know how it is. But I couldn't let my busyness mess up all the good work the farmers had done--good, hard work.
Six years ago I lamented that our produce CSAs (community supported agriculture farms) are mostly half-year affairs in our area. Over the past few years, several year-round CSAs have popped up--joining long-standing Blue Heron Farm in providing local produce all year long--but they are still rare for the most part. As I listen to some of my farmer friends collapse with gratitude at the season's end (especially this past difficult growing season) I'm not anxious to make them work any harder than they already do.
I only recently figured out that if I can and freeze all the bounty that I get from June-October, I not only get to feast all year long on local produce but I effectively get a year-long CSA program. So one night a couple of weeks ago, I worked long into the wee hours scrubbing, sterilizing jars, and canning countless beets. I did it because I didn't want all those beets to go to waste. I did it because the thought of adding chunks of deep purple summer flavor to my winter meals just makes me happy. And I did it because I can think of no better way to say "thank you" to the folks who grew those beets than to eat and enjoy every one of them. It is, afterall, the least I can do.