In our mid-summer stride

Producing food is one of those activities where time never stands still. It’s hard to believe it’s already the third week in July. In some ways, it seems as if we just started the season, yet here we are in a full mid-summer stride, producing tremendous quantities of food at the bakery, from the garden, and from the pastures.

Our rhythms, rituals and routines (the 3 Rs) is what accounts for the quick pace of summer. The morning comes fast after a restful night’s sleep. Once awake, helped by a delicious cup of coffee (which we recently read is very good for you!), we head outside for the early morning round of chores. We start anywhere from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. The morning chores take between 2-2 1/2 hours depending on the day. We then take a quick breakfast break before heading out of doors again until lunchtime. We try to sneak a project or two in during the day before the late afternoon round of chores brings us close to dinnertime. But the day’s not over yet. On a revolving basis, we have the nightly “lockup” round of chores at dusk, when the flocks of layer hens are safely closed in for the night to keep the predators at bay. In the middle of summer, that can be as late as 9:15 p.m.

We wouldn’t trade this schedule for anything (well, okay, maybe a daylong powder day!). Being able to interact with nature throughout the day is a gift, and it’s inspiring. We are taught so much, that the learning never ceases. We are able to view nature’s beauty in the micro and macro scale, and never tire of it. We care for living beings — the plants, the animals, the micro-organisms, ourselves. It brings you an intimate focus on the here and now.

 

Last week we were treated to awe-inspiring morning skies, this week it was the sunsets that were drop-dead gorgeous.

 

In your boxes this week, please find salad mix blended with frisee, arugula, carrots, beets, radishes, one head of radicchio, mixed bunch of kale/chard and Napa cabbage.  The Napa cabbage is loose leaves instead of a head.  Many of the heads never formed properly after the hard freeze in June. That was followed by a full scale earwig invasion that left us with a big sorting job. They look pretty good now but rinse it well and eat it first. Enjoy! (Remember that none of the veggies have been washed and please return your boxes, clean bags, clean egg cartons  and rubber bands for re-use!) For a knock-out radicchio recipe check this out:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sauteed-radicchio-orange-bacon-and-pecan-salad-15130

 

Won’t be long now: zucchinis! Bees were found on these beautiful blossoms for an early morning forage.

 

The rains have certainly helped freshen up things here, especially the dryland pasture areas. Grass is an amazing regenerative plant that never ceases to amaze. Researchers are continuing to find health benefits associated with the meat from grass-eating graziers (chickens, turkeys, beef cattle, etc.), in addition to the carbon sequestration benefits toward remediating the devastating affects of climate change.

 

And who said turkeys don’t eat grass? This is a nice comparison of a paddock where our rafter of turkeys recently grazed (now in a “regrowth” stage), compared to a mature stand of tall grass about to be grazed down by chickens and turkeys.

 

We routinely use cover crops in the garden, a bio-intensive technique to keep the soil fertile, to add organic matter, to fix nitrogen, to lay down some carbon, to outcompete weeds and so on and so forth. Here is a stand of winter rye and hairy vetch that was planted late last summer, got established in the fall, and is still going strong now in mid-July.

 

The garden also has an additional advantage. That is, garden scraps are routinely fed to our rapidly growing pigs (three of them), who love a diet very similar to humans’. There is very little that is considered “waste” here at the farm. Any food not consumed by humans is turned back into food either as compost and a future soil amendment for the garden, or directly to the livestock. Here is a pig “pigging out” on some salad greens:

 

Have a great week and enjoy the rains!