We have entered cherry-stained fingers season on the farm. The chokecherries are ripe and abundant, the small trees out in the Sterling Barrens heavily laden with them. There’s a learning curve to be navigated – it’s been years since we last had so many to work with, and we’d forgotten how to best extract the juice from them, which made for a late night and a lot of mess and stains as we reinvented the cherry-juicing wheel. They’re a hassle, but worth the effort – the tart flavor makes for a complex tasty jelly. We’re hoping to get back out into the Barrens later this week for more, which should be a bit easier to work with now that we are reoriented to the Way of the Cherry.
In similar efforts, the Elderberry bush we planted a few years ago put out an abundant harvest – Kristin watched carefully to time it just right; too soon and the berries are toxic, a little too late, and the birds will have stolen your hoard. Her vigilance yielded an impressive harvest of berry in clusters, which I picked off the stems one by one, a pleasantly productive way to pass a lovely screen-porch evening.
The rodents ate well, their numbers diminished only slightly by our efforts to keep them from devouring every tender seedling that we put out in the field. The drought is also doing well, with only a couple misty days and sprinkles to bother it. It’s been a challenging year for sure, with hugely reduced helpers and available time (two kids is more than double the work, at this point). There are times when it feels stressful. I remind myself that that’s ok to feel anxious, or experience our efforts as a struggle.
Sometimes, it is a struggle – no need to pretend otherwise. But it’s a struggle that we enjoy, filled with problems are are lucky to have.
And we get to eat such rewarding meals amongst it all. Hope you’re enjoying your veggies, too.
What’s Inside Box 10?
- Radish Microgreens – the stems are especially zippy. Awesome in tacos, sandwiches, etc.
- Green / Purple Sweet Peppers
- Cherry Tomato Medley
- Cucumbers – slicers & picklers
- Italian Basil – if you clip the bottom of the stem and put in a vase / glass of water, it will keep nicely on the countertop. Don’t refrigerate … basil tends to turn black when it’s chilly.
- Zucchini / Summer Squash / Patty Pan Squash
- Eggplants (Italian & Asian)
- Melon ( either Sarah’s Choice, Hannah’s Choice (both cantaloupes), Arava (green fleshed yellow skinned tropical, or that kind we still can’t remember the name of)
- Potatoes (Red, White & Blue) – they have a cosmetic skin condition that won’t affect flavor.
- Kale – either Curly or Dino variety