Week 14 (Chicago Week 12)

List of this week's vegetables

  • Sweet corn
  • Green beans
  • Chard
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Summer squash (zephyr, patty pan, and zucchini or white lebanese)
  • Eggplant
  • Chinese cabbage

And then there were two

If you keep up with farm happenings through these newsletters, Facebook, or otherwise, you know that Tony and Dela are an ocean away right now. They are working with farmers in Senegal, trying to establish sustainable practices that will improve the health of both the people and the land.

Their important work abroad makes the tasks at home feel all the more vital. This farm can be an example of sustainability and stewardship not only to those on far-off continents, but to our own neighbors who have yet to embrace organic practices and to the new, young farmers breaking ground all around the country. That’s exactly what Scotch Hill is to me anyway, an intern just beginning my agricultural education.

One thing I’ve come to appreciate, even more than before, is just how much Dela and Tony manage to juggle in the course of a season. It’s no small thing to keep the gears a farm turning.

So many things to remember at this time of year; from fall crop seeds yet to hit the soil to the cucumber vines that have tired themselves from months of production, now ready to become compost, we care for plants at every stage of life.

We use every hour of daylight that we can to work in the fields; to till old beds into fresh ones; to transplant young kohlrabi, collard greens, lettuce; to seed late carrots, kale, spinach; to keep everything watered and to combat the weeds that pop up immediately following irrigation or rain; to harvest all of the food in your share, and all that goes to the farmer’s market in Janesville. And will we ever find the time to pick the apples weighing down the branches of our trees?

Moonlight isn’t wasted either. (Well, okay, we do supplement with electrical sources.) Canning has become an after-dinner routine. When we accumulate 25 pounds of tomato seconds (the bruised, cracked, dilapidated fruits that make it in from the field) daily, food preservation becomes a necessity. When Dela is home, she often stays in the soap kitchen well past midnight to put up salsa, tomato sauce, pickles, and more.

And then, to me the hardest and most important thing to remember is to take it all in. To look up from the soil at

the poufy clouds turning pink at sunset, to admire the flecked and swirling pigments on a zephyr squash, to laugh at the tomatoes that have grown appendages. And while there aren’t any roses around here, I do stop to smell the sunflowers every now and then.

In any case, it’s a lot to keep track of, let alone get done. But of course, it’s not really just two of us.

Another aspect of this farm for which my appreciation has swelled is the community that holds it together. Friends who offer their time to help wrestle tomatoes off the endless vines and into jars for canning, members who go beyond their workshare to help wade through a sweetcorn jungle. Two extra hands can do so much for the plants, and one extra smile even more for the farmers.

We would be so grateful for your help and company on the farm. Any day, any time, we’ll welcome help. All we ask is that you let us know you’re coming and that you please take some tomatoes when you go.