Meet this week’s vegetables:
- Beans — The beans are the harbinger of many good summer fruits to come! Finally, it is August summer!
- Cut lettuce — A mix of several lettuces, cut and rinsed.
- Broccoli/cucumbers/kohlrabi — Your choice between these tasty treats (more cukes and basil to come — the plantings are still coming on).
- Beets — Now that we have whey in the house from cheese making, I prepared my first batch of “beet kvass” (a fermented beverage). It’s still in process, but I am excited to try something different! Since Casey and I don’t really drink alcohol (and we definitely do not buy sodas), we get a fun kick out of other milder, slightly fizzy fermented beverages. Every morning we enjoy a glass of kefir with breakfast (as does Rusty on occasion).
- Summer squash & zucchini
- Torpedo onions — We can’t get over how good these onions are, even though we should theoretically know that from prior seasons. We’ve been enjoying torpedo onions cooked with chard for breakfast — it’s a stupendous sweet and savory combination (perfect with fried eggs and toast!). But we also had some killer tuna salad sandwiches last week with the torpedo onions chopped up in the tuna. It’s rare to have such a strongly flavored onion that isn’t actually spicy.
Well, after two or so years of very mild weather, it looks like summer has returned to the Willamette Valley! We’ve had two weekends in a row of temperatures above 90°, and it looks like this whole week is going to continue being hot (with temps even as high as 100° again!).
At nine months pregnant, I can’t say that I am perfectly comfortable on these hot days, but I find them gratifying nonetheless. It seems that Facebook is a modern medium for debating the merits of weather, and I have several friends who consistently despise these hot days. Once upon a time, I would have been with them. Casey and I both grew up in super mild climates (Oregon Coast for Casey and Seattle area for me), and our first summer in the Willamette Valley was a shocker. Of course, it was also the hottest summer on record (2006)!
Over time though, we have slowly acclimated to these higher temperatures — not so much that we want to move to Arizona, but we’ve come to appreciate what these hot spells bring to our life and farm. After such a long winter and wet spring, getting baked to my bones feels cleansing. Plus, these heat waves punctuate the year with something unique — I don’t think I would fully appreciate autumn’s comfortable charms without some discomfort in the summer.
And, wow, are these days powerful for the farm itself. We can almost watch the summer fruiting plants grow and mature on these hot days — we now have hope for our melons, and just this week we enjoyed our first ripe tomatoes! We’re poised to enter that truly stupendous season of eating that starts with the heat and then lasts into the beginning of fall, when we can simultaneously enjoy so many good veggies at once: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, zucchini, basil, carrots, lettuce, onions, potatoes, and so much more!
Plus, the heat is pushing along some of our longer season crops — the sweet corn is filling out, and the winter squash are growing like crazy! Our experimental grain crops are maturing faster now too, and the lima beans finally put on pods (I think they were just waiting for something warmer).
That’s not to say heat waves are easy — they are extreme weather events in their own right, and we have to respond to keep the farm happy and healthy during these periods by irrigating and keeping the animals cool and watered.
And, we have to be careful with our own bodies too. Over the years, we’ve learned many important heat strategies. We’ve learned that we have to stay covered in the sun (big straw hats, long loose pants, lightweight long sleeve shirts with collars turned up); we’ve learned to stay absolutely hydrated; and we’ve learned to order the workday appropriately (harvest in the morning, field work in the afternoon).
Of course, right now, Rusty and I mostly just seek shade and water in the afternoon. Since having Rusty I haven’t worked in the fields, but I am definitely avoiding much activity right now. The hammock is a favorite place for me, and we set up a little wading pool for Rusty under the giant walnut tree. It’s a lovely place to wait out the heat as we wait for this baby to arrive (see my “baby update” for more details).
We hope you find your own heat-beating strategies. And, enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
… and the rest of the farm crew!
~ ~ ~
Farm baby update — still pregnant!
Folks have been asking Casey at pick-up whether we’ve had our baby yet — to quote Rusty: “Not yet! Maybe soon!”
As of today (Monday), I am 38 weeks pregnant, so I theoretically have about two weeks left (give or take, depending on baby’s preferences!). We are definitely feeling ready to meet this mystery child, especially since we haven’t found out the sex and would love to find out who baby is!
For now, we call him or her “Pip” — a name Rusty gave the baby when we were reading lots of books about eggs hatching this spring, and Rusty suggested that the baby would “pip” its way out of my belly (“pipping” is when the chick uses its egg tooth to make a circle in the shell). No, that’s not how baby will come out, but we liked it as a temporary in utero name nonetheless! “Pip” is also a word for apple seeds, which is a meaning we like very much. Some of you will remember that we called Rusty “Sprout” before he was born — that name stuck as a middle name, and maybe “Pip” will too!
I am feeling okay — this pregnancy overall has been much easier than Rusty’s, probably in big part because I didn’t continue to work in the fields like I did. But the last few weeks have been increasingly challenging, as I get bigger and it gets hotter outside. I definitely have more aches and pains now than I remember having with Rusty, perhaps because I haven’t been able to walk as much as I did that time.
We are planning another home birth and spent part of the weekend getting the house ready — we set up the birth tub and started stowing baby stuff in strategic places. Of course, when Rusty was born at home in December of 2009, it was 6° outside and the wood stove was blazing next to the warm birth tub (I labored there, but Rusty was born on dry land). This time, I imagine the setting in our house will be very different — perhaps I will want cold water in the tub for dunking rather than warm water for soaking! We will see!
Another big difference this time around is that we are having a baby during a rather busy season on the farm — we have tried to arrange for lots of support, but there may be some blips depending on when baby decides to arrive. We hope you all will be patient and understanding if there is a week when the CSA isn’t quite as smooth as normal.
If anyone would like to help us during this transition, a friend set up a meal registry online (a brilliant idea!). We arranged it so that it can be convenient for CSA members to use, and we will send a cooler to pick-up to bring food home. You can find the registry here. If you don’t want to mess with the registry, freezer ready meals are welcome at pick-up anytime!!!! We would offer you a thousand thanks for help!
So, we are still in waiting mode, laying low, trying to enjoy some final quiet moments as a family of three. Pip is a very active baby and already feels like part of the family, but obviously we’re about to go through a very significant transformation as a household! We are so excited to meet this baby!
~ ~ ~
Full Diet update
We’ve been hearing more and more from people about the Full Diet and veggie CSAs. We’re hearing a lot of gratitude that we’re continuing the veggie CSA in 2013, and that’s great affirmation right now. We’re preparing the sign-up info now, with the goal of having it ready before baby arrives, but we will make it all official in late September. If you haven’t yet, please check out the information on our website regarding the Full Diet CSA. I keep adding to the FAQ section as well! Let us know if you have further questions or comments too!
~ ~ ~
Next week’s veggies (probably!):
Tomatoes • Eggplant • Green peppers • Cucumbers • Beans • Lettuce • Chard • Carrots • Summer squash • Sweet onions