Let the fields be with you

Farmer Tam’s Field Report

July 30, 2017

The fields are popping – finally. After what felt like a long, crazy wet spring – making it a challenge to plant followed by a too hot and dry start to summer. The fields finally say abundance!

Strawberries are still going strong after a much needed one-day rain and soak. We sampled the first of the latest variety to start ripening – Acadia Valley Sunset – sweet huge berries. Verdict: delicious!

The sunflowers are starting to become a hedge-like presence along the edge of the garden. These are tall ones, which rustle and sway in the wind you as you move by them. My favorite thing is to walk between the rows at the end of the day, on my harvest scan for “something for supper”. I close my eyes and listen to the meadowlark and the black bird’s songs, drifting in on the breeze.

Bees meander through the field on their last run back to the hives for the evening. They stop by the bouquets of Komatsuna and Pac Choi. Their glistening leaves await, succulent for harvest. We’ll cut them into bunches well above the earth – hoping to give permission for the plants to burst anew for a second cut. The earth has plenty of moisture; the days are still long, we may be lucky enough to trick these cool season crops into producing a bit more, into living a bit longer.

The zucchini will be the “Bell of the Ball” this summer. It’s lovin’ the heat and has become our new best friend. We went a bit crazy planting it this spring. So many exotic sand wonderful varieties: One Ball, Eight Ball, Cousa, Noche, Sunrise, Romaneso, Green Tiger, Desert Blooms… I couldn’t resist! We need to pick these gentle giants every three days. They go from chef’s favourite size (Baby, baby for the grill) to massive in about 10 days. Blink and you have a monster, suitable for stuffing or shredding for chocolate cake.

The first planting of broccoli is magnificent. Their heads are starting to swell into fist-sized broccolis. The flower buds are still tiny – they have not succumbed to the heat and bolted into bloom. I study them to judge the harvest time – but it depends on the heat. Maybe next week – or if it cools down, possibly the one after. The lottery of the thundershowers is a play here. Pray for no hail. It’s hot. Perfect weather for a hail-storm – the “white combine” has been making the news across the province this week.

The romaine lettuce is on deck. One more week! It looks sprightly and lively. But the peas stopped producing in the heat. Perhaps there will be a rebound in 10 days now that we had rain.

Kohlrabis are starting to pop. Cabbage leaves are unfurling at quite a pace. The first planting of kale is not quite enough. We should’a planted more. The second round is coming on strong, but it will be a few more weeks. There is lots of Swiss chard coming, and baby beets.

The mole quit eating the fennel. It’s ferny fronds wave happily from the burgeoning bulbs at the outer edges of the field, where the mole didn’t go. Damn Mole! I’m learning much about the taste buds of a mole. They don’t like sunflowers, cucumbers, zucchini or onions. They love pretty much everything else – especially the baby beets. Set more traps!

Farmers are Eternal Optimists. Silvia and I planted a whole new garden over the past three weeks. New seedings of dill, cilantro, beans, tatsoi, arugula, Swiss chard and more beets. We threaded rows of turnips and rutabagas in the hot dry ground. Good fortune! Just in time! The rains came – and popped them from the earth, like a fresh set of soldiers – perfect in neat rows.

Working with a plan – in step with Mother Nature – we’ve escaped the bugs by excluding their life cycles. The pesky rootworms will not have a chance to set up camp in their tasty bulbs. Their season has come and gone.

Did you know that turnips offer tremendous anti-inflammatory properties due to high-levels of vitamin K. Delicious and fertile cures for what ails you!

The fields move like summer moves, weeds are frisky and wild, the corn is leaping, the cauliflower is spiraling. The plants know how to act these days. Their offerings reflect our needs. The winter greens bitter from the longer days and warmer temperatures, help detoxify our liver and kidneys. Nettles help with hay fever so prevalent during this transitory interval.

Good food is good medicine! It does more than fill your belly. Do you see how it can heal you?

As vital as the elements in the food that you consume which transform and regenerate you, allowing you to be your most robust and vigorous self, enabling you to do the good work you were put on this planet to do. Because we need you, me and the other 7 billion of us need you, to be well. Be well so that you may do well.

The fields are with you! Farmer Tam