What a week! Late June thunderstorms are such a treat. The whole farm was irrigated at once, and the cool temperatures are a relief to our freshly planted fall crops, and to your farmers. We even managed to sneak away as a family to see Raffi in Portland. He is a true master of his craft and a sweet reminder that it's the simple acts of goodness and kindness and peace that resonate through space and time. He's been singing to children (and now parents) for over 40 years! It was awesome.
This confluence of seasons is a hustle each year, and a humble reminder that what we think we know about the seasons, or the farm, is always changing. Our experience helps us to face the many variables with more context, yes, but we are beginners every sunrise. As the harvests increase in frequency and intensity, so does our relief to let the season sink-in; to stop trying to control all of the variables, and to let the neat lines and clean fields of spring dissolve into a bountiful tapestry of flowers and food...and weeds for good measure.
This week, we see the true arrival of zucchini, including our most favorite variety called Costata di Romanesco. This zucchini is a monster of a plant, so it is a bear to maintain and harvest, but oh so worth the sweet, nutty flavor and firm texture. It's really our preferred summer squash, and one you'll see frequently throughout the season. Please be sure to check the extra inventory as summer intensifies, b/c there is sure to be extra zucchini! This is a deliciously herbaceous week as well, with dill and cilantro (and parsley as an extra) as well as the ever-under-estimated bulb fennel. Slice it thin, saute with butter until slightly translucent. Low and slow (with your fat of choice) is the secret. It's sweet, delicate flavor enhances so many dishes, notably pasta and pasta sauces, but it's also excellent roasted with other roots (take it from stove-top to broiler) or as a simple accompaniment to meats and salads. So good! The tops are beautiful and can be used for stock, but the culinary magic is in the bulb.
I also wanted to share something that's been on my mind these past couple of weeks, though it's not necessarily a complete thought and my machinations on the topic are ongoing. With the summer harvest season coming to roost, there is ample time to consider how the food grown here nourishes our community and our home. All of the planning, all of the planting, all of the energy to work the fields and prep beds, all of the intrinsic effort contained in the seeds that we sow, all of the cultivating, and irrigating, and the record-keeping, and organic certification (we passed this week!) and careful communication with the crew. The worrying about pests, the covering and uncovering of beds, the trellising and pruning and digging, and cleaning, and packing and labeling and cooling. This is all effort towards food. Harvest is the goal. Eating healthy food grown with care for our people and our planet is the goal. BUT i sometimes wonder if it is our purpose. Because there is also some interesting tension that arises during this season of confluence, between attention to the food and attention to the land. Just as zucchini and tomatoes start to flourish, and the weeds in the vegetable plots scramble to proliferate, so does the thistle in the pasture, the blackberry along the creek, the tansy patches on the property line. Our hedgerows need to be freed from grass, trees need water, animals need shade and fresh pasture. There is endless mowing and weed-whacking on the horizon and yet harvest reigns supreme, b/c the food must find a home. It is the goal. And yet the purpose, to bring life and love and resiliency to this land also begs for our attention, and we must find time to oblige. The perfection of a crispy spring carrot or the clean lines of a weedless onion bed are meaningless if the land is not alive. We have to nurture ourselves first and foremost, or none of this experiment is possible. We have to remember that the land is the root of our existence, the soil is the fuel, the food is the reward. I think our role as stewards is to learn to balance these pieces of the puzzle with gratitude, to not let a singular goal define our purpose. I often say to our market customers and CSA members "this is your farm. thank you for making it possible." I'm aware of the "this land is your land" cliche here, but really it's just the darn truth. Your commitment to this farm is also a commitment to the land. The vegetables are incredible, but they mostly grow themselves and really a lot of the credit for the treasure goes to the breeders and seed-stewards who carry forward those delicious genetics for us to enjoy. Your commitment gives us reason to balance production with stewardship. We are honored and we are grateful to feed you. We give thanks and the land gives thanks in return.
This is going to be a great season. We hope to see many of you tomorrow, Sunday, for the CSA member open house. And of course you are always welcome to visit.
Conner and Sarah