This is actually the third newsletter I’ve ever published that has some combination of the words “June” and “gloom” in its title. Because, well, this is A Thing — this rainy, gray weather in June, before summer really sets in for good.
It actually feels like it’s been awhile since we’ve experienced the “June gloom” — to the extent that both kids are marveling at it in wonder. It has been extra rainy indeed. Knowing that seemingly endless dry hot days are ahead of us, we’ve all been savoring the coziness of being inside during downpours. But we did get caught outside in at least one drenching rainstorm last week when we were biking (Casey and the kids) and hiking (me) at Spring Valley. We were soaked through, but thankfully we were close to home. It was a two-coffee day for me, for sure.
The regular happening of June gloom is a seasonal marker for Casey and me — it’s often the time when we have finished quite a lot of our planting but then have to pause on field work. It’s just too wet to hoe or hand weed on days like this, so it provides a perfect window of time for thinning our apple trees. Every year, we individually touch every apple cluster, removing all but one apple to grow big and mature. It’s a simple, meditative (and time-consuming!) task that makes an enormous different in the quality of our apples. We finished this year’s thinning this weekend. Then we did some weeding in the high tunnels, where the ground is still workable. And today Casey and I both caught up on lots of farm paperwork while more rain poured down outside.
Really, the June gloom is wonderfully timed in all these ways, providing us a breather before we jump back into the active pace of the main growing season. But we do hope that it lets up soon so that the cherries won’t split and we can start weeding all the plantings in the field too. Even though the season is progressing along nicely, and even though the June gloom is pretty normal, if we step back and look at the season as a whole so far, it’s been rather slow and late in many regards. At least, compared to some recent years. It’s so easy for us to recalibrate our expectations based on the last year or two rather than really remembering the wider scope of averages. Even now, in the midst of a pandemic, it’s almost hard to remember what “normal” felt like or believe that we’ll ever get back to it.
But time passes. Seasons come, and seasons go. And here we are, still poised at the top of a wave of the growing season, ready to take the plunge into abundance once the summer decides to come out and stay out. The summer solstice is on Saturday, marking the peak photosynthetic potential of the year. Even with so much other uncertainty around us, we can rely on this — the seasons will turn. The sun will shine!
Enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
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Meet this week’s vegetables: Each week, Casey and I can always predict which vegetables will the most popular. We think of these as the “sexy” options — usually it’s something new, or a perennial favorite. More often the “sexy” items are sweet, colorful, and often fruits (peas, green beans, cherries). Meanwhile, there are other beautiful, humble vegetables that maybe don’t stand out in the list with quite the same level of bright lights shouting “ORDER ME!” and so they get fewer orders.
One definite downside to the ‘order ahead’ system is that it’s hard for you to appreciate the beauty in some of our humble, steadily available vegetables. If you don’t order them, you’ll never see them! So, this week I thought I would share with you that some of these humbler vegetables have been outstandingly gorgeous lately — I mean, really really really at their peak beauty, flavor, and texture. They’re abundant too, making for large share amounts. Which humble items am I speaking of? Kale! Chard! Fava beans! Parsley! If you really want to pack some WOW (and volume) in your bag this week, I recommend ordering any or all of these.
This isn’t to say that the other items on the list aren’t excellent right now too … it’s just that I don’t think maybe people need to be reminded that cherries and strawberries are awesome. Everyone knows cherries.are.awesome. Deeply so. But remember the humble green things too as you build your share this week!
P.S. A note about strawberries — we are between plantings this year, really needing to replant (which we will for next year). So the strawberries aren’t nearly in the abundance we prefer, but don’t worry — as long as they don’t split, we have cherries galore. Which will be followed by plums and more tasty fruits. We love the “sexy” items too!
Now, onto the list … REMEMBER TO INCLUDE YOUR NAME!