News From the Farm | June 1, 2015

Vegetable seasons are sometimes blurry at their beginnings and ends and June is often a month that really makes that point. It can be an awkward month, between spring and summer.  The asparagus is all gone but the melons are a ways off. We call it the ‘June doldrums’ when the farmers market table is piled high with a lot of food staples, and we keep telling the customers how ‘sweet’ the onions are, and how ‘creamy’ the potatoes taste when really all they want to eat are nectarines and tomatoes.

The calendar says that Summer season begins on the Solstice, June 21st, and until then the heat of the day will drain the tenderness from spring greens like chard and collards. Finally the heat will build up enough, and we will have to abandon the spring crops and make way for the explosion of summer.  At this time of year chefs ask us to add a box of cherry tomatoes to their order, because they know that the cherry tomatoes are around the corner, and they keep hoping that they can scoop all the other chefs by ordering ahead. There are a lot of fields on the farm at the moment, that look really worked over, or are in the process of being ‘turned over.’  In some fields, the cover crop is gone, and the field has been bedded up and will be planted soon, but is currently bare, a state of our soil that we don’t like to see and thus keep to a minimum. The potato fields have been picked over, the green tops of the plant having been chopped off, the tractor then lifting the potatoes, and finally the crews going through with buckets to pick up the potatoes from the soil.  Our onion crops have been harvested and tucked into burlap bags that are sitting in rows in the field as the onions cure and dry. The garlic too, is ready to come out of the field to cure in the shade where we can clean and sort it.

The tomato fields are young — they haven’t yet suffered the disruption of crews walking up and down the rows six days a week, looking for fruit.  The plants look hopeful and ready to please. The eggplants too, look very healthy, with beautiful purple and green hues to their leaves.  Soon there will be an abundance of cucumbers, summer squash, cherry tomatoes and yes, even watermelons!

–Judith Redmond