July Seventh

july-2010-001July is like a pilgrimage that I seem to go on every summer. The pilgrimage often carries on for an extended journey into the first couple weeks of August. It is a pilgrimage that often humbles me, teaches me strength, and spits me back out again a better person that I was when I went into it, but to be completely honest with you, I do not like the month of July because in my mind July equals temperatures in the mid 80’s and 90’s that make the lovely profession of vegetable farming a sincere challenge.


I respect the necessary and important role that the heat brings to the maturation of our favorite, traditional and hallmark vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash and cucumbers. These plants soak up every hour of blazing sunrays and the most humid and muggy days of them all are their absolute favorites. I often wonder if I could choose a life without temperatures above 75 or tomatoes, which one I would choose. I suppose I would have to go for the tomatoes. I’m a natural born Midwesterner who has many times been tempted by other world with different climates, but I have found that my heart belongs here among the cruelest of winters, the wettest of springs and (big sigh) the muggiest of summers. I’m just down right loyal to the Midwest, what can I say? I’ll never leave her now, and I love an heirloom Cherokee Purple tomato in season.

With over three inches of rain on Sunday and Monday we were giving thanks that we farm on a ridge top. Even here, perched high on top of the world, there are puddles of standing water in the fields. So far, and it’s still early yet, we haven’t seen any signs of mildew, rot or fungus on the plants (knock on wood). If we keep getting this kind of rain, we’re going to have to ask for it to at least dry out between the floods. The Kickapoo River, right down the valley from our farm is a brown body of water flowing with a fever. If you drive down along the county roads in the valleys you’ll see corn under water. I’m mildly paranoid about the weather, but for good reason, I rely on it for my livelihood!Jill-and-Adam-muddy

When it’s summer we long for winter. When it’s quiet, we long for noise. When lettuce is in season, we long for tomatoes. I do believe that longing for something other than what we have sets us and our high expectations for grandeur on the fast track to disappointment and the inability to be happy in the now. So as I was walking barefoot down the gravel road with a bin of broccoli on my hip I longed for broccoli. I make the best of the summer while it’s here (and when the Kickapoo River isn’t so muddy you can’t see in it) we load the dogs up in the back of the truck and drive down to cool ourselves off at the swimming hole. I’ve made more trips to the swimming hole so far this year than I have in the last two years combined. This is a testament to my newfound approach to the dog days of summer.

Sooo, What's in the Box???

Green or Purple Cabbage-  Mostly everyone got a green cabbage, but we ran out of the giant heads of green ones toward the end, so we started cutting some of the giant heads of purples.  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture.  Will keep for over a july-2010-007month!

Fennel-This is the last week of fennel for this spring.  We're watering our fall plantings of fennel in the greenhouse right now.  See the yummy Creamy Fennel Broccoli Soup recipe below!

Broccoli-A big broccoli week!  There's more where that came from.  I'm expecting one more heavy week of broccoli harvesting.  Eat up quick.  Broccoli doesn't store long.  Will store best in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture.

Beets-  A small bunch of beets for our first giving of beets.  You'll likely get beets every other week for the rest of the summer.

Summer Squash, Zucchini or Patty Pans- It's starting.  These watery veggies don't actually like to be strored in the fridge.  They prefer temps for stroage closer to 50 degrees.  You could try keeping them on your counter as well in a cool place.  Suqash in the fridge will get wrinkly.july-2010-005

Bunching Onions- More onions for all of your onion needs.  Sautee them or eat them raw as you would any onions.  You can use the greens for garnish or eating also.

Italian Flat Leaf Parsley- Large bunches of parsley this week.  The parsley can be used fresh or you could dry it in your dehydrator and store it for the winter in jars to be used in sauces.

Lettuce- We're still fending off the woodchucks for your lovely lettuce salads.  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture.

Next Week: Our projections for next week are only a guess. The maturity of the crops depends entirely on the weather conditions. We do not promise that this is what your box next week will look like, but this is close to our best guess.


Therese Laurdan brought a cup full of this soup to our box packing Tuesday night for all of us to taste.  She says you can use your bunching onions instead of leeks.  It was yummy!
We eat this one a lot in the winter when apples and beets are plentiful.