It was a fruitful week and yeah I’m intending that pun, without apology. It rained some and the wild mushrooms finally started popping. We hunted wild cherries and picked runty weird pears and offered false salvation to the bird-menaced apples and juiced buckets of grapes gathered from our neighbors at Quiet Meadows.
The garden was productive, too. I think one of the many cycles we go through on this farm is the one where in early summer our focus is on the failures; the weeds that got away, the stunted crops and the sparse pickings and the ones that got devoured en terra utereo,
But then, right when we might teeter on the verge of psycho-spiritual collapse, the ABUNDANCE kicks us in the asses and we can’t overlook the sweet scent of successes.
OK, so the full-sized tomato crop is kind of messed up this year, and that is hard to swallow after last year’s perfection combined with the expectations we couldn’t help but harbor (secretly I’m still hoping they turn it around … any day now). Sure, the deer are making like brontosauruses amongst the dino kale, and the Vole Collective has masterminded a record number of heists, eliminating an impressive array of baby plants. And the weeds, and the drought, and inflation and dystopia and bears; oh my.
But … the melons are candy cannonballs and the sweet corn is off the hook … I tasted a cob this morning and for the first time really understood the evolution of corn to syrup to a can of high frutose. The cabbage worms aren’t inflicting their usual frass-holeness, the cherry tomatoes are lovely, the winter squash sure seek poised to achieve greatness. The kids are learning and exploring and clearly our finest output, and this ridiculous lifestyle we live is shaping us, providing us with the daily bread of Meaning.
The phrases “Look up!” and “look out!” are sadly tarnished with negative and fearful connotations, but I try to remember their more positive reminders as well. Look out of our heads, out of our dusty concepts and grim narratives and limited framings. Look up from the problems at hand, unbend and look up at the trees, the sky, the sun, the bigger picture, the vista buena. Pardon my French, but life is fucking beautiful, and if – when – I’m not awestruck, I know I’m not really paying attention.
There is a lot of love and sunshine in the boxes this week, I hope it can be tasted.
Inside Box 11
- Microgreen Mix – eat it soon; in the dim morning light I added a tray of amaranth & kale that was kind of sad, and we don’t think it will keep well for long. Or it might even be grody? We thought about tossing them all but it was already all boxed and I think it looks really good still overall … do what you must. (PS – yes we’ll reuse the containers if you return them.)
- Sweet Corn – so JUICY. Might be our best-ever sweet corn year. As usual I will promote eating at least one ear raw and without any butter or salt. I love them both, but they’re usually only required because the corn one usually gets is stale and sad. This corn is magic and will put sparkle in your spirit and add 10 points to your attributes, I think, so open one up and eat it right now please. After that … eat more? The sooner you get to it the better – once picked, the sugars start converting to starch. You can cut it off the cobs and cook it with zucchini and peppers, maybe a few tomato chunks. That’s what Kristin likes to do and she knows stuff.
- Zucchnis and Summer Squash – the versatile unsung heroes of CSA boxes
- Cucumbers – it’s been a good run but it’s coming to the end.
- a Melon – one of a variety of types we grew this year, carefully chosen for most-likely ideal ripeness.
- a tomato or two – the big tomatoes are problematic this year; blossom end rot, cracking and splitting skin, and some annoying invisible caterpillar are taking their toll. These are the survivors, the chosen ones, blessed by the gods and ushered through the myriad tomato trials and tribulations to arrive by some miracle onto your table.
- Cherry Tomatoes – these grow out in the field, not in the greenhouse – and for whatever reasons, they’re happy and fine. Not too shabby.
- Salad Turnips – these are the mild kind. You can even eat em like apples! But if that’s still too “turnipy,” know that the flavor is concentrated in the skin, so peeling them makes them super mild. Roasting is good too.
- Hot Peppers – Jaleneos & Hot Wax – Don’t get confused: here are the hot ones:
- Sweet Peppers – Purple Bell Islander, Glow (orange-trending)
- Red Cabbage – this is a good recipe. Or just eat it; cabbage is delicious.