harvest party*

Marcia’s hands, McEvoy olives, Petaluma, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

On Saturday I had the pleasure of going to a harvest party at an olive ranch in Petaluma. As a guest to my dear friend who is a food writer (she was fabulous on the Gayle King show last week!) I often get to do some amazing things, and being invited to this party was no exception.

Imagine a ranch full of olive trees, organic gardens, an art collection that rivaled most museums, and a frantoio where the olives were pressed (with two enormous wheels made of marble that rotated and spun and crushed the olives into a beautiful green and purple pulp) The smell in there was so alive and fresh it was intoxicating.

We had a gorgeous sit down meal with beautiful cheeses and bread (with olive oil of course), polenta and roasted vegetables, and finished with vanilla gelato drizzled in fresh olive oil.

Marcia, McEvoy Ranch, Petaluma, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

As we picked olives, I contemplated the idea of a harvest party… and realized that I spend lots of time thinking about what I’d like to create in the coming year, the coming season, the coming week, but rarely consider the seeds I have already planted and celebrate the reaping or harvesting of those. It begged the birthday question: What did I harvest this year? What seeds did I plant? and did they come to fruit?

Mostly, I planted seeds of strong marriage and partnership this year, a healthy happy boy, and a balance between my work life/creative life and being the best parent I can be. All in all, a good harvest and lots to celebrate. There were also seeds I planted that may not come to fruit until next season or perhaps next year… and this metaphor somehow helps me feel more patient about those.

What seeds did you plant this year? and have you seen them fruit?

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.



  1. Belinda

    No fruit this year, as I was just consolidating the ground work. I’ve also planted out many things (including actual harvests!), which have slowly germinated and grown throughout the year, and will hopefully take off next year after much more work.
    In short:
    Starting a book repair/conservation course, looking into becoming a specialist pea/bean grower, beginning to lose weight and become fitter in a healthy way rather than crash dieting, working on my current personal relationships in the hope that they prosper in the future, starting with creativity and arts for relaxation, learning to sail and saving up money for my own boat, becoming more peaceful and less anxiety-ridden about the past and future.
    Given that a couple of years ago, I was ready to give up on pretty much everything, this is huge for me even though it probably sounds trivial to everyone else. 🙂

  2. Anna

    Oooh, I was just thinking about this yesterday. I’m planting the seeds of worth… my own worth and my belief in it. I’m doing this by asking for what I actually need. It’s a big step!
    The event you described here sounds just amazing! I appreciate the window in. 🙂

  3. Julia

    Such a timely question!
    I was just thinking along these lines today as this amazing, interesting, and historic year is winding down.
    I have tried to sow seeds of confidence and social awareness in my daughter.
    Thus far she has become a very savvy 5th grader when it comes to the issues of our day.
    You should have seen her in the days leading up to Election day…she had all the info about the propositions down cold, and also was avery ardent Obama supporter.
    So for that I am grateful and very proud of her.
    This year I have also been very much involved in trying to better the lives of workers who devote their time to the needs of special education students.
    These people are the un-sung heros who work miracles with these children and show such compassion and patience.
    Unfortunately many of the local school districts treat these workers horribly, paying them very little and offering them little or no health care benefits and /or retirement.
    I have been trying to change this but thus far my efforts have born little fruit.
    School Districts are notoriously good at paying their upper level administrators obscene salaries and leaving out the people who really do the hard work every day.
    Sometimes I feel like I’m shoveling sand against the tide but I will continue.
    Hopefully within a few years and with our new president in office, things will change for the better.

  4. Puanani

    Oh, my. The timing of this question finds me deep in a dark night of the soul. An appropriate time to plant a few seeds, one might say…
    A seed of hope. A seed of light. A seed of acceptance. A seed of understanding. In this dark time of 41 years, I can only imagine that the fruit of my dark labors will bloom, flower and ripen into a life filled with wisdom and self-acceptance. Thank you for the opportunity to tend my garden, Andrea.

  5. rowena

    What a great, great inquiry. I know I, as a creative, spend a lot of time in idealand, thinking about what I can do next and how I can move things forward.
    But this is the perfect time of the year to take stock on the bounty that we have harvested and the work that we have accomplished.
    I said that this year I wanted to regain my creativity after neither writing nor painting for so, so long. I succeeded, even if I think about the projects or business opportunities I have not yet taken advantage of, the things I have lost or lack, the truth is my life is full of bounty.

  6. Maggie

    I sowed so many seeds this year – real and imaginary. Overall, I’m so glad I started my site and kept at it, at least weekly. I’m glad b/c each little post has united into a site people tells me makes them hungry every day. And now I’m planting more seeds like by doing a little redesign, amidst the wackiness of my full-time job, I feel peace and like I’m doing something for me. And now, I’ve planted the seed that I will finally sell a beautiful gift box, just one gorgeous local, hand-crafted food gift box in time for the holidays b/c everyone asks for them and I have never done. I’m going to plant that little seed and see if it becomes a real business.
    Thank you for letting me plant it publicly here.

  7. Wanda

    Oh. My. God. Olive oil on vanilla ice cream? I’ll have to try that.
    What have I planted? Let’s just say I have been continuing to “work the soil and kill weeds.” I am not sure what I will plant yet, but I know that a crop is coming.

  8. leaca

    looks like it would be so much fun. beautiful photos.

  9. leaca

    looks like it would be so much fun. beautiful photos.

  10. jfrancis

    Olives and treasure
    have much in common,
    both are calculated
    to enrich life.

  11. Tara

    Wow what a great questions… What have I done?
    Much like you I am reaping the fruits of my past seedlings. I had my son, build on my relationship with my husband, seen some of my own creativity come to a tangible state and now I couldn’t ask for more. Though all of my harvests of this year took years to fruit they are worth the wait.
    Best of luck to everyone in their harvests to come…
    Peace, Love, & Apple Sauce!

  12. Gemma

    We’ve kept a gratitude book for some years that everyone who gathers at the Thanksgiving table writes in, but this would be a cool spin on that to get people thinking. I just finished a “50 things I’m grateful for from this past year” list. Your post inspires me to journal about my harvests, which have been bounteous this year. At the outset, I expected a somewhat barren year, but back in January I did the “What will I create this year?” exercise you posted about, and darned if almost all of it hasn’t come true! It is SO inspiring! Thank you for helping me sow the seeds of the harvest I’m now relishing!!!

  13. Laura Neff

    Oh hooray, thank you for the reflection question! It is easy to miss that part, especially if you’re a forward thinkin’ kinda gal. So, as I sit in the lounge at the Hyatt Regency Montreal, sipping a glass o’ Chardonnay and awaiting the start of this year’s ICF conference, I get to spend some juicy moments reflecting.
    This year, I planted the seeds of:
    – Deeper, Richer, more Committed Partnership with my now-husband
    – Dedication & Joy, by allowing yet another furry four-legged (our dog, Lucie) into my heart & life
    – Expansion & Success in my coaching business, by casting a well-aimed but wider community net, and at the same time, also lasering & narrowing my focus.
    Those seem to be the big three at this moment, though I know my mind & heart will continue to chew on this question of seed-planting. Thanks, Andrea!

  14. r

    i planted a seed that died. it is still very sad. thank you for being in community with all of us.

  15. jolene

    andrea – what a wonderful experience! we visited the ferry building outpost of mcevoy ranch during our honeymoon and i was so inspired by the vision behind their product line.
    happy belated birthday, too!
    i planted the seed of commitment (something i’ve always been afraid of) this year by getting married! i also planted the seeds of deep and true friendship, which were evident by all the love we were surrounded by on our special day!

  16. Catherine

    those photos are BEAUTIFUL!
    You inspire me with every post!
    Well my husband and I planted the seed of a baby and now I am 6 months pregnant!!!!
    The little guy is moving around in my belly all the time! I love that feeling. I’ve seen my belly grow, my breasts are larger then ever, and my dream of family is right around the corner! March 2nd to be exact ( give or take whenever the baby decides he’s done cookin. )
    Also planted the seeds of letting go. Letting go of labels of who I am so I can be open to who I am becoming. Grieving the structure of knowing who I am based on a career path, and allowing myself to feel lost while in transition and feel all of those feelings while something else – a new life – grows.

  17. Gry

    Dear Andrea: A late happy Birthdaywish for you from a fellow birtdaygirl on nov.9th.
    I laughed when I read your descroption on how it took years before you realized that you actually feel sad after a party with your loved ones because you get stressed; I feel just the same and it took me 40 years to realize:-)
    Last saturday I invited 20 loved girlfriends to a party, and it was wonderful, but stressful. The day after I felt like I didn’t get to talk to anyone, but just wandered around in a hazy mist. Hopefully my friends enjoyed eachothers company and had fun anyway.
    These last days I have come to realize like you have; I don’t feel comfortable hosting a big party. My 50 years birthday I think I will do something else, but luckily I have 10 more years to plan for it:-)
    I’m sorry that I couldn’t come to your birthdayparty last sunday, as it’s quite a long ride from Norway, but you were in my mind, wishing for you the very best birthday!
    Birthday hug from Norway!

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  19. kris

    Happy Belated Birthday:)
    This year I planted seeds that will begin my little family. I got engaged.
    I planted seeds of passion and self acceptance.
    Seeds of change if you will. Long term, purposeful change.

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