Week 8 (Chicago Week 6)

List of this week's vegetables

  • Red lettuce
  • Kentucky Wonder pole beans
  • Patty pan, white Lebanese & zucchini squash
  • Carrots
  • Snow peas
  • Oriole chard
  • Cauliflower
  • 1st tomato
  • Long and short cucumbers
  • Radishes
  • Basil or dill
  • Provider green beans

CSA bounty calls on us to can, freeze and preserve

Like people precious to us, seasons come into and out of our lives, too quickly. Shining faces of the land fix – innocent and pure as a smiling infant – in our memory, in our senses. It’s all so tender and joyful in the first days of spring. Within a single season, all the beautiful life matures, ages, withers in a cycle.

We can feel our very eyes growing weary with age as we look about the garden just weeks into a season. Typically at this point in Wisconsin, Nature turns the lush green into scorched brown, and crops that have not been tended properly or put down roots to tap moisture and nutrients in well-balanced soil, show signs of stress.

Is it climate change that makes for such a different season, such unusual “aging processes” in plants, this year? Some of our crops are weeks early in development from wide swings in weather and more than ample rain. Tomatoes and peppers await a break in cloudiness. They hold back for sunshine and heat they need, as much as they need moisture, to ripen.

I hear across the cyber space a too familiar plea from a grower we first ran into at the 2001 Food Security Summit, complaining once again of losses due to weather and asking for donations. In 21 years, we’ve had our share of ups and downs, but never asked for donations. This year’s bounty, despite strange weather, should testify to our strengths and commitment to subscribers and the land.

As all farms that endeavor to stand apart from isolation, to embrace community should, we do ask for your relationship, your visits if and when possible. When consistent rain brings early bounty, one way you support this farm and food system is to preserve and put up what you cannot immediately consume. If you need “Asparagus to Zucchini” cookbook, we can still provide this great resource of tips on preserving fresh vegetables, written by our CSA coalition of growers, including some recipes from Scotch Hill, at a discount. Email your order to us.

Three ways to visit Scotch Hill Farm

The Soil Sisters farm event is coming up at the end of this month. We need your help to prepare the farm for visitors. Join us for our monthly workday and picnic lunch this Saturday, July 25th any time between 9:00am and 7:00pm.

Attend one of two workshops (or both) Saturday. Aug. 1. These include: “Baking the Best Buns Ever,” which runs from 10 a.m. to noon and costs $30. The class includes a free copy of “Renewing the Countryside: WISCONSIN” for every registered family (a $26.95 value). Register at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1423848

Join Dela and Jim, Scotch Hill’s baker extraordinaire, to learn how to bake delicious quick rolls and buns for breakfast, brats and sandwiches and dinner. Using organic ingredients and herbs from the garden, participants will bake several different batches of yeast raised breads and savor their creations.  Older children (ages 12 and over) are welcome with adult supervision and their own paid ticket.

You can also attend “DIY Body Care Products,” which runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Join Miranda Ends and Dela and learn how to make your own lip balm, deodorant, and insect repellant with natural ingredients, so you'll never need to buy these items from a store again. Create your own products to take home. Again, older children (ages 12 and over) are welcome with adult supervision and their own paid ticket. The cost is $35.Go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1423789

Finally, anyone can attend the Soil Sisters Tour of Farms, Sunday, Aug. 2, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. It’s free and open to the public, with no registration needed. Come visit us as well as seven other women-owned farms in the Brodhead and Monroe areas.  Bring coolers to stock up on farm-fresh vegetables, meats, eggs and more!

Download the Soil Sisters PASSPORT for tour maps and details. There’s also a bus tour option available for the farm tour (registration deadline July24).