The joy of warmth

Summer on the farm!

These summer days have been so delicious lately. Dry air. Warm breezes. Growth all around. I’m not sure that I have ever felt quite so grateful for summer as I do this year after the year’s protracted winter of extra lots of snow, rain, cold and darkness.

I feel grateful every day that going outside is again a simple proposition: slip on some sandals and step outside (or, in the case of children, just step outside barefooted!). The warmth just feels so good this year, and I’ve already caught myself feeling sad that summer will end. Of course it will, and the odds are that by then our family will be ready for another turning in our rhythms. But we’re savoring summer’s treats now.

The world just feels so alive, as it is: bursting with abundant and growth. And our bodies feel similarly alive: no worries about vitamin-D deficiencies or lack of movement this time of year. These feel like the days of peak experiences.

The blooming forest at Miller Woods on last Friday’s nature outing: sublime!

I feel like my whole life has been a journey toward better appreciating this particular season. I remember growing up in the suburbs/city feeling like summer was … hot. Uncomfortably hot. Inside felt more comfortable, and I did love to do things like read, so that was okay with me.

But then later Casey and I lived in the mountains, and summer became the season for hiking. Then, we worked on a farm, and I discovered how much comfort comes with being soaked in sweat while wearing a big hat and long sleeves and pants (very cooling combination on a hot day!). I also learned to better appreciate the joy of eating summer’s foods only in summer. I now have this added association with the season, that this is when we eat tasty things like basil, sweet corn, zucchini, and (eventually) tomatoes and peppers.

Having young children at home has just added another layer of love to the season as I’ve watched them grow. From birth, Rusty has been more comfortable and calmer outside. When he was a fussy baby, we would take him on walks outside to calm him (even when it was winter!). Both children have intense needs for big movement. They love adventures and climbing and running and splashing! They can do these activities year-round, but as a parent I deeply appreciate how much easier it is for us all in the summer when they can just pop in and out of the house without needing to put on lots of warm layers (or peel off lots of muddy layers when they come back in). Honestly, I can’t even imagine parenting in a different context without easy access to the outdoors, because Casey and my #1 discipline technique is to send the kids outside. Being too loud? Time to go outside and play. Bickering? Time to go outside and play. Bouncing off the walls? Time to go outside and play. And so on. So, in that way, summer is a super relaxed time for us as parents!

We hope that you too are savoring all that the season has to offer, including all the food. Each week will bring more and more new flavors.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

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CSA payment due this week! Another friendly reminder that your next CSA payment is due this week. You can bring us cash or checks to pick-up tomorrow! Please let me know if you have any questions about your balance due.

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Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Cherries
  • Apples
  • Fava beans
  • Salad mix — This week, the cut salad greens are a mixture of lettuce and spinach!
  • Frisée — For many years, we’ve grown frisée and simply added it to our salad mix. But this year the heads are beautiful and we feel like it’s time to once again offer this beautiful and distinctive green on its own. The most notable part of this green is the texture, which is feathery and delicate. The flavor, however, is robust, making frisée a great base for a complex salad. Traditionally it would be dressed with a hot oil (such as bacon grease!) and served with sweet and savory topics (like chopped bacon and dried fruit and maybe a poached farm-fresh egg). Here’s a post with some more suggestions, but rather than sticking closely to any one of these, just note the trends: a strong dressing, something sweet, and something salty/savory. Strong flavors all around. It’s a delicious way to fancy up the summer table!
  • Basil — One of the more amazing greenhouse experiences is handling the very first of the germinated basil seedlings in early spring. Just a brush of the fingers, and there it is: the smell of summer. It never fails to transport me months ahead to now — the season of warmth and sun and river play. And, now the basil is full grown and ready to be harvested! Casey picked the tops of the plants, and they are gorgeous! We love to use fresh basil in salads or sandwiches or chop it up and add it to our cooked greens. And, of course, you can take the time to turn it into a fresh pesto, using this week’s garlic, some good olive oil (there’s a store on Third Street), and walnuts (pine nuts are more traditional, of course, but we like walnuts as an Oregon variation).
  • Broccoli/cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Beets
  • Chard
  • Kale – dinosaur/tuscan/lacinato/black palm kale this week!
  • Garlic
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