Happiest summer to you!

We took this giant bowl of cherries to a solstice gathering and watched as children made it disappear in record time!

Well, it may be hard to believe at this moment (rainy Monday afternoon), but last Friday we marked the solstice and are now officially in the summer season! So, happy summer everyone!

Growing up, I think it’s safe to say that summer was my least favorite season (if there is such a thing). Our house got hot, and didn’t have many good outdoor spaces to retreat to, and nothing was close enough for me to ride my bike to. Plus, I missed going to school. And, as was true for most suburban families, notions of seasonal eating were almost non-existent. There was a produce stand that set up in the parking lot of the grocery store in the summer to sell all sorts of seasonal items, including delicious stone fruit from central Washington state — so, I do have fond memories of gorging myself on apricots. There were good things, just not as many good things as in fall (school!), winter (Christmas!), and spring (flowers!).

Now, however, I rejoice at summer’s arrival. For us on the farm, it marks a big shift in our world. Generally by the solstice (and certainly this year), we have already finished getting our big plantings of the year in the ground. We continue to plant all season, but nothing quite like in May and early June. Knowing that all these crops are in and growing is a huge relief.

But then comes the weeding. Once all the plantings are in and growing, the weeds begin too. Getting these first flushes of weeds is satisfying, as long as we can (mostly) keep up. Then, the harvest really begins. All spring we have been harvesting of course — greens, peas, fava beans, strawberries, etc. — but now begins those classic main season crops. Today Casey and José harvested the first of our carrots for the veggie CSA. Casey also picked the first of our summer squash. Both of these will be staples through the end of the season (with the carrots continuing through fall and winter thanks to our storage coolers). Then, we’ll pick basil, beans, beets, onions, cucumbers … eventually joined by the prolific producers tomatoes and peppers. And, now that we have fruit on our farm too, I find myself once again tempted to gorge on things like cherries and plums (I do restrain myself some now in my maturity). Oh, the food is so good and so fresh — how could I not love summer?

But there are other things I welcome about summer now too. As a family, we’ve made outdoor time a priority and have two doors on our house that lead directly out to such inviting spaces: a shady covered porch, a sunny lawn, and beyond them the farm to explore. Being outside with the kids is always easier than inside: our tempers stay a bit calmer all around, and we find new adventures everywhere. Today we wandered down the hill toward our greenhouses and picked some wild blackberries and then lazily pruned some trees we planted years ago (natives that will hopefully grow to be very tall along our north border).

And, of course, then there’s the river. And the beach. And camping in the mountains. And so many fun gatherings to look forward to. We don’t get away quite as much as people in other occupations (teachers!), but we do get away in the summer and enjoy that time so much. It’s amazing how leaving the farm to go do something fun makes us feel like more of a family. And, it’s good to leave behind our never-ending distractions so we can really play with our kids.

We especially rejoiced at summer’s arrival this year, because it has been a fabulous spring. Everyone on the farm has been commented that we feel very “caught up.” Of course, this season is such a force of growth that we can’t let our guards down now — we finish weeding one planting, and the next is more than ready for our attention! But we’re keeping up as necessary and looking forward to a fruitful season of eating.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

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Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Cherries! — These are Lambert cherries from my parents’ two acres orchard next-door. They are never sprayed!
  • Head lettuce
  • Salad mix — A mix of lettuces and spinach.
  • Carrots — Carrot season has arrived!!!! These fresh baby carrots are sweet and tender and delicious!
  • Bok choy — We have eaten so much bok choy in our house lately. I love to braise it in sesame oil and broth and add ginger and soy sauce for flavor. It’s great with chicken or duck (in fact, dinner tonight will be duck and bok choy cooked with carrots!).
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Fava beans
  • Shallots — These are the last of our shallots from last year! Soon we’ll start harvesting this year’s onions!
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