On the Farm – Plowing into Summer
The summer solstice sometimes makes me a little nervous. I like to think I am a glass half full kind of person, but I can’t help but think about how the days are going to do nothing but shorten from now until December. It has hardly started to warm up enough to plant tomatoes and we are already loosing daylight!
However, the long sunlit evenings are readily enjoyed while they last, and mark an important period of planting and early harvest on the farm. Out in the fields, the solstice marks only just the beginning of a long period of hard work, planting, harvesting and caring for the land that makes the production of every fruit and vegetable possible. The shortening days will be welcomed as the heat becomes almost too much for leaves growing frail and the drying earth.
As the first day of summer came and went, the sun stood strong in the sky above Griffin Creek, Ames Creek and Willows, Full Circle’s three farms in Carnation, WA. Sunday evening’s rain left the fields damp but ready for planting and crews worked steadily through the heat to plant potatoes and lettuce starts from the greenhouse. Plows worked the earth beneath an almost unbelievable vivid blue sky broken along the horizon by snow-capped peaks above jade green hills.
At Griffin Creek, a mix of baby greens were ready for harvest, soon to become the salad mix delivered to many local restaurants and home deliveries. The heat is hard on the greens so they were quickly and carefully taken to be washed and placed in the cooler before delivery. Across the creek in the berry patch, rows of currants and gooseberries were gaining color and turning sunlight into natural sugars right before our eyes.
Rows of almost every herb you can imagine gave off a sweet earthy fragrance that begged you to rub your fingers across leaves of sage and sprigs of lemon thyme. “The lemon thyme I love on pizza with ricotta, parsley and summer squash,” said Jessica Kagele, Farm Supervisor and Special Projects Coordinator for Full Circle. “This could also be good with some added fennel.”
The bees were out in force, buzzing between lavender flower and pea vines, working their magic. Everyone was happy to see that their numbers seemed strong this year, they are just one of many components that makes growing organic produce possible.
There is still a lot of work to be done and the process will be a long one until the end of harvest season when things start to mellow a bit. Although it seems picturesque, watching pea pods get picked off the vine under the warm clear sky, it is humbling to know that there are a lot of devoted people and intensive processes that go into creating healthy and high quality food that we are proud to deliver to you.
So, as the sun starts to set a little earlier each evening, think about how the gradual transition in season impacts the food that you are able to eat and the process that makes it possible. Having that connection and appreciation will only make each bite more flavorful, meaningful and nourishing.
Stay tuned for more updates from the farm and keep in touch with the process that feeds you – it’s worth it!