Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Gleaners

It is impossible for me dig potatoes from my garden without thinking about Millet’s The Gleaners. Impossible, I tell you. Which is a good thing. I always feel connected to the art world and women throughout history. Nature’s bounty teaching me life’s lessons.

Recently I was talking with my Mom about a farm that was down the street from my suburban LA home (yes, there used to be many farms in So Cal) and she told me that we were allowed to pick veggies from the fields after the farmer was done harvesting. How about that, I was a gleaner and didn’t even know it. More of life’s lesson. Fantastic.

Here are the first potatoes we have picked this season, some of which we had for dinner last night.

And the original inspiration.

The Gleaners by François Millet, 1857
And just in case you wanted to know more about the practice of gleaning, here it is:
In this depiction of the rural life of nineteenth century France, we see three female figures gathering the leftovers after the harvest. This practice – known as gleaning – was traditionally part of the natural cycle of the agricultural calendar undertaken by the poor, and was regarded as a right to unwanted leftovers. Although the practice of agricultural gleaning has gradually died away due to a number of historical factors (including industrialization and the organization of social welfare for the poor), there are nonetheless still people in the present day that we might understand to be gleaners.

I hope you glean much from your day!


Anonymous said...

While I'm quite familiar with that famous painting, I did not know the story behind it or the practice of gleaning. Therefore I did glean something today. I never met a potato that I didn't like, and I can tell you from first hand, nothing taste better than one fresh from the garden. Enjoy!

Kim Radatz said...

Hey Kim,

And I gleaned your Herbed-Baked Eggs recipe, yum!

Thanks for stopping in!


Laura Tringali Holmes said...

There's a suprising difference between fresh just-dug tatos and those from the grocery store. Love 'em!

Kim Radatz said...


You are so right! Yum.


greg urbano said...

i guess i am most surprised to find you can grow potatos in florida

Kim Radatz said...

Hey Greg,

When planted in a container potatoes do very well in Florida. And I plan to do just that this fall when I am back in Florida. But for now, these potatoes are being dug in Minnesota.

Do you garden? In Florida? If not, it is worth a try. A friend of mine uses home made “Earth Boxes,” which were original designed by a man in Ruskin, I believe. I’ll post info about them soon, just in case you or anybody else in Florida wants to have a try at home grown potatoes or tomatoes or any other veggie of choice.

Thanks for stopping in!