The family is mobilizing to enjoy a cool overcast day outside, so my time here is limited this week. I'll save the longer ramblings for another day, but I can offer a few quick notes on the shares.
The fresh sweet onions are perhaps one of our most favorite crops to grow and harvest and share. We use them with everything, sauteed with fennel and zucchini and parsley...or raw, sprinkled over big salads or on a juicy lamb burger. They will be making an appearance most weeks for the next couple months as the bulbs continue to gain in size.
Also returning to the shares this week is one of the true flavors of summer: Basil! A slow, finicky Spring grower, the basil is just now beginning to flourish outside and in the high tunnel. We'll be offering a handful of small bags for the foreseeable future, and will let you know when we might have larger bulk quantities available.
The final round of spinach is here as well. Not a heat lover, spinach tapers off quickly in late June, so we'll be getting the most out of this bed over the next couple weeks. Another green returning to the rotation is the Marvel Butter-Crisp lettuce. We have a glorious succession of this favorite just coming to maturity, and we hope that you'll enjoy some big green salads in the coming weeks (with carrots, and scallions, and cucumber, and dill, etc, etc).
Other crops that I see coming soon are: Tomatoes!!, broccoli (again), kohlrabi, potatoes, raspberries (goldens, the best), and peppers of all kinds. Summer....eventually.
One final picture and note that I wanted to share. Yesterday, after a busy market, I returned to the farm. With Wendell's enthusiastic urging, we rounded up some tools (including "his" electric weed-eater), the whole family, and headed down to a portion of the riparian area that has been under continuous restoration work since we purchased the farm. Wendell has his sites set on clearing a stack of long cured (and bramble covered) firewood that needs chopping, and I have thistle and blackberry on my mind. We loaded up the cart, and headed down into the cool shade of the ash, and fir, and pine to do some scouting and establish a new temporary fenceline for the wooly four-legged clearing crew. Stepping out of the hot pasture and into the forest, feeling the temperature drop, finding hundreds of thriving young native shrubs and trees that were planted what feels like just yesterday, is always an inspiring thresh-hold to behold. This part of the farm sometimes feels like a universe apart, especially when we are busy with production production production, but the reality is, it's the heart of the same universe.
The vegetable operation is a diverse, beautiful, bountiful and curated patchwork that represents our intention to create a thoughtful(though efficiently extractive) livelihood from the land. But the forest, and it's margins, are so much bigger than our intention, so much deeper in their ecological richness. This place is the earth trying to heal, with permanent cover, and dappled shade and cool pockets and deep roots and birdsong. Bringing loud power tools into this magic feels ironic, to be sure, but I have to remember that it was all a wall of blackberry bramble a few years ago, that certain opportunistic species had taken root in an environment largely modified by a century of disruptive human activity. Our role has been to carve out some space and some light, and with annual maintenance, to give our native species of plants and animals a chance to re-establish and thrive. As I was cutting thistle heads and preparing a sheep paddock around a particularly dense blackberry patch, I was thinking about impact and intention and how we, as stewards, must attempt to align the two. There is no end to this work, no bell that will ring when we are "finished." We want to bring more life back to this land, more water, more shade, more ecological richness, but who are we to know how? There is no prescription for the intended outcomes and the outcomes themselves will long outlive this human body. We must watch and listen and learn how to do as little as possible to give the trees a chance to do their tireless, gentle, and ancient, work. It's with all these thoughts that I was struck by two mantras yesterday. Or maybe it was just the dehydration. ;)
"The swath of our path need only be cut to the width of our comfort."
"A thistle does not seed in the shade."
Conner + Sarah + Wendell + Sylas