Strawberry Moon

Strawberry Moon

Thanks to David Conklin for the photo of Paige, Marina, and Hannah talking strawberry harvest!

To me, Red Dog Farm’s June seemed marked by alignments. Our season’s first strawberry harvest fell upon the Summer Solstice; the Sun paid us its longest visit as our crew laughed and filled pints with red berries. Then, an unusually full moon followed the longest day. I’m sure many readers glimpsed its pink-red curve low over the Salish Sea. While the so-called Strawberry Moon visits us each Spring, this particular moon’s closeness to the longest day imparted special qualities. Perhaps included in these qualities is an opportunity to reflect on the summer’s coming bounty, the work we did to get here, and how it takes a community to make, and truly enjoy, the fruits of our labor. 

The phrase Strawberry Moon comes from an association with wild fruits and berries’ first ripening as spring slides towards summer across the continent. Today and long before, this first harvest was a reward for making it through the harder, colder months just passed. For summer to be truly plentiful, farmers, including at Red Dog, must cultivate through those colder times, getting ready for the snap into good weather. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe anything delicious could push through the frost and mud. But warmth is here now, and you can taste it in the berries. The Strawberry Moon tells us to gather these first fruits, while also preparing for the even more bountiful harvests to come.

This June’s Strawberry Moon points to another truth about farming: our true glow is often most visible in the company of kind friends. A full moon on the Summer Solstice creates an effect called Major Lunar-Standstill; orbital alignments made our Strawberry Moon visible in the night sky for the longest time in almost twenty years. It was also exceptionally low on the horizon, which gave it striking coloration. All of this is possible because, rather than sulking after the end of its longest day, the Sun offers the Strawberry Moon light enough for its own special moment. To me, this reads as a lesson in reciprocity; we survive in the hard times by supporting our community and share in the happiness that always rolls back in. Right now, happiness feels like a ripe strawberry. Enjoy yours!