Blog Name: 
The Garden Ephemerist

In Pennsylvania Dutch country, where I’m from (and where Organic Gardening is produced), many churches celebrate a festival called Harvest Home in late summer and early fall. It is a throwback to much earlier harvest traditions brought over from Europe and adapted for American use. A hundred years ago, the festival would have been marked by members of a church congregation bringing a selection of their best home-preserved foodstuffs to share with the less fortunate. As you can see from these century-old photos, Pennsylvania Dutch women canned every type of produce in abundance, and so they had plenty to share. Nowadays, church members typically bring store-bought canned goods to church on Harvest Home Sunday, because, sadly, many people have been taught to fear home-canned foods. But displays full of corporate logos and bar codes can’t match the beauty of these natural and healthy offerings from years ago!

Canned fruits and vegetables, relishes and preserves are presented along with fall flowers and sheaves of grasses at this Harvest Home display in a Bucks County church in 1907.

Canned fruits and vegetables, relishes and preserves are presented along with fall flowers and sheaves of grasses at this Harvest Home display in a Bucks County church in 1907.

Potted plants join the mounds of onions and other produce on the altar of this Allentown church in 1906.

Potted plants join the mounds of onions and other produce on the altar of this Allentown church in 1906.

The pastor of this Reformed church in Lehigh County was happy to have his portrait associated with this beautiful Harvest Home display circa 1906.

The pastor of this Reformed church in Lehigh County was happy to have his portrait associated with this beautiful Harvest Home display circa 1906.

I hope everyone’s harvest was successful this year and that you had enough for your families and enough to share. Happy Thanksgiving!