News from the Farm | June 24, 2024

The solstice was last Thursday so now it’s officially summer. But even without looking at a calendar, we knew it – it tastes, looks, feels, and sounds, and smells like summer. 

Tastes: It’s hard to choose what items to put in our CSA boxes; there are so many good options and not enough space. Figuring out how to set up a farmers market display starts getting tough when there are so many good things that have to share the limited real estate.  Melons, peaches, corn, basil, green beans, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, apricots, shishito peppers, cucumbers, and more. Yum! Nothing hits the spot quite like a slice of juicy, sweet, preferably cold melon on a hot day.

Looks: The hills and wheat fields are brown, the summer flower fields are a riot of color (including some fun new zinnia colors), and peppers and cherry tomatoes that started green are starting to change color.  The Wreath Room is full, and there are flowers drying in the now-empty greenhouses too. Probably the most obvious signs of summer is our pepper shade cloth. Since 2015, we’ve covered our two acres of peppers with a shade cloth. It’s a big project to cover all 30 rows of peppers, but worth it because it helps protect our peppers from sunburn. Jonas and Rye tweaked their setup this year, involving a bit of welding to attach carabiners to the top of the poles. The verdict was that it made the process much faster and smoother. Read more about the process of setting up the shade cloth here.

Feels: It’s getting hot; this is the time of year when we start talking about the high temperature only reaching the mid-90s. We’ve held heat safety trainings at several of our Friday meetings where we’ve gone over the importance of water, shade, and rest and everyone knows the signs of heat stress and to check in regularly on members of their team. Everyone has an insulated water bottle and we take more frequent breaks when it’s hot. We also are starting work at 6:30 (and possibly will start earlier) so we can wrap things up as early as possible. More about how we work with (and in) the heat here.

Sounds: Every spot on the farm sounds different, but during the course of the day, we’ll hear sprinklers irrigating the walnuts and summer cover crops, happy birds pecking away at fruit (much to our chagrin), the combine harvesting wheat, the fruit washer running almost constantly to clean potatoes and melons, and the sound of the big fans that help keep the shop cool.

Smells: Unfortunately it is fire season. While not in any immediate danger, we are pretty close to the Sites fire in Colusa County, currently the largest wildfire in the state and we had smoke and hazy skies last Tuesday and Wednesday (as you can see in the photo at the top), though things have mostly cleared up since then. This isn’t our first time in this kind of situation, but the past two years have been less smoky for us. It’s not all bad smells though. Summer also smells like melons, tomatoes, and peaches.  

Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager