Independence Days Update: Season of Fruit

Sharon June 24th, 2010

With the cherries, the season of fruit hit full swing.  The strawberries are nearly done - mine are all done, with one or two exceptions, and the pick your own will only be open for a few more days.  The cherries are overflowing though - we picked 30lbs yesterday with my sister and nieces.  10lbs went home with Vicki for cherry pie, quite a few are being eaten, and the rest will be jam and pie filling.

The strawberries have that end-of-season, very slightly past-prime taste, but they still make wonderful jam and dry beautifully.  And Isaiah brought over the first handfull of wild raspberries yesterday afternoon, and each of us got one, full of promise to come.

My kids are big fruit eaters, and we try to minimize our out-of-season fruit eating (we are not perfect by any means in this regard).  This means that my children have been eating apples more or less non-stop since last August as their primary fresh fruit.  There were some oranges and bananas in winter, there were fall raspberries, pears and quinces and the dried and canned fruit from last summer, but berries, cherries, peaches - these have not been part of our lives for many months.  The anticipation means that when they arrive, they are a bliss, and we enjoy them fully.

It is also time for the first wave of serious herb harvesting at our place.  Since medicinals are a big deal for us (and I hope will be a big part of the farm sales), they are taking up more and more time.  This week we set up our drying room - the glassed-in mudroom off my kitchen.  We closed it up and locked it and its southern exposure keeps the room hot enough to dry herbs very quickly - and since rapid drying is essential to keeping them green and fresh, we’ve been really happy with it. Eric set up  strings running across the roof, and I use rubber bands to hook the bunches of plant material hanging, while trays of flowerheads and smaller materaisl rest underneath.  So far, it has been a howling success.

We managed local zucchini today, and I have one tiny one and several blossoms, so I’m hopeful.  It amazes me how exciting zucchini is in June and how annoying in August ;-) .   We’re still putting in the new beds, but now I’m starting to think about fall crops - I still have a few summer ones to go, along with the perennials that I am establishing for for next year’s medicinal harvest.  Most of the summer garden is in, but there’s always a few late things that we are running behind with.

The goats are dry, and we are enjoying the break from milking.  When we go back, we’ll have seven does in milk, so we’ve decided to milk only once a day - less milk per doe, but enough for and plenty for the kids, and less work.  We don’t mind milking twice a day, but if we don’t  need to, we’ll be grateful to have evening chores shortened a bit, especially with more goats adding time.

I’m waiting for a cool day to rebreed Rosemary - she’s ready for another breeding and her babies are getting big and cute.  But bunnies don’t like heat and it can reduce male fertility, and we’ve been having a warm spell - I gather it will be cooler next week and am waiting for that.  

After Eric’s birthday party on Sunday we had an unbelievable amount of leftover lasagna and goodies - so we’ve barely cooked at all.  This has been lovely and the kids are thrilled with all the unaccustomed treats (not to mention the strawberry-rhubarb pie and ice cream my sister provided yesterday).  The supply is finally petering down, though, and we’ll go back to cooking - but not much to say about that this week.

Otherwise, just the usual, plant and harvest, preserve and plant some more. Starting seeds for fall crops, trying to get everything in the ground…it is all an endless but richly enjoyable project.

Plant something: Elecampane, tomatoes, eggplant, okra, melons, kale, broccoli, beans, flax, clover, amaranth, sunflowers, horehound, yarrow, goji berries, peppers, ginko.

Harvest something: Peas, eggs, kale, bok choy, lettuce, beets, strawberries, cherries, yarrow, motherwort, catnip, lemon balm, chamomile, calendula, red clover, yellow bedstraw, mint, betony.

Preserve something: Made more strawberry rhubarb jam, froze snap peas, dried strawberries, dried many herbs.

Waste Not: Nothing unusual, except eating down the party food.

Want Not: Nothing unusual - very party focused.  We didn’t even make it to our synagogue yard sale, usually a seasonal highlight.

Eat the Food: Yup, we ate food.  Nothing really exciting though, although I made a lovely black bean and corn salsa with the very last of our frozen corn.  Ok, ready for corn season again!

Build community food systems:  Some discussion of a community garden at our synagogue, which I really want to happen, and a bunch of radio stuff.  But I’ve got something bigger on the back burner, waiting for time to make it simmer.

How about you?


9 Responses to “Independence Days Update: Season of Fruit”

  1. Lise says:

    Sounds like you had a great week!

    My latest update is on my blog, here:

  2. Jennie says:

    Here’s mine!
    Turnips and peas and Kale coming out of the garden.

    I am intrigued by your “something bigger.” Can’t wait to see what it is!

  3. Jill says:

    Plant something: green beans, spinach, blackberry bushes, mint, oregano

    Harvest something: green beans, zucchini, beets, spinach

    Preserve something: Dilly beans, pesto with basil and spinach,

    Waste not: composting, recycling, the usual

    Want not: going to a huge neighborhood garage sale this Sat!

    Eat the food: stir fry with bok choy, leeks and yellow zucchini, pesto, scalloped potatoes with leeks and turnips, patty pan squash with red chili pepper flakes.

    Build the community: talked three friends into joining our CSA program.

    That’s about all. By the way, Sharon, I really enjoyed your book “Independence Days.” Thanks!

  4. Lynne says:

    This is not only a year of rain and cool temps but also of charismatic megafauna. We’ve had our first ever experience of what it feels like to have a deer raid your garden. And yesterday we had a little black bear in the yard! Needless to say, the electric fence is up. And there is warm weather in the forecast.

    Plant: replacement grapes, basil, late cucs and acorn squash, corn transplants for places where the seed failed to germinate

    Harvest: snap peas, snow peas, broccoli, potatoes, mint, basil, cilantro, oregano, green onion, lettuce, strawberries galore, dill, parsley,violets, calendula, irises and bachelors buttons, eggs

    Preserve: spinach and broccoli (frozen), strawberries (dried)

    Waste not: the usual

    Want not: picked up some nuts and oils for storage, also syrup

    Eat the food: Lot of socializing and “showing off” produce; salads of many types, strawberries plain and on shortcake, potatoes just boiled with butter, broccoli steamed, pizza, stirfries, snap peas, etc

    Community: just sharing plants and produce with neighbours, friends and family

  5. Claire says:

    It got quite hot here in the St. Louis, MO area. Highs up into the mid 90sF and dew points in the low 70sF made for a nasty sticky-hot week complete with an excessive heat warning. No rain to speak of, actually had to drag out the hoses and start watering the veggie garden again. Is there anything so pleasant as the first day with highs in the mid 80sF and dew points in the low 60s after a heat wave? Today was just gorgeous, and the low will be in the mid 60s tonight, hurray!

    Plant: zinnia seedlings, and seeds of black beans, edamame-type soybeans, winter and summer squashes, and gourds. Still doing summer planting here too. Even though we are farther south than you, Sharon, it cools down fast in the fall so I need to get long-season summer crops in by no later than early July. I still have three beds to go …

    Harvest: lettuce, kale, beets, snow peas, raspberries, the first tomato of the season, calendula flowers, parsley, cutting celery, dill

    Preserve: continued drying last year’s popcorn crop in the solar-powered food dehydrator. Drying the calendula flowers.

    Waste not: avoided using the AC during the heat wave except for Sunday afternoon and evening when we had friends over, and yesterday afternoon and evening after the 5th or 6th day straight of the heat wave. It wasn’t bad, mostly, because by now we’re pretty acclimated to the heat. However, we did turn on the dehumidifier in the basement; the concrete floor was completely wet, puddled in some spots, and slick enough to be hazardous to walk on. We didn’t want to risk mold or falls. I’ll try turning it back off over the next day or two and see if the floor stays dry.

    Want not: had a contractor over to take measurements in order to give us an estimate on the cost of glassing-in the south facing front porch. We’ll use it to generate a little free heat in the winter and also to overwinter the large tropical plants like the potted citrus trees.

    Build community food systems: nothing this week.

    Eat the food: enjoying the last of the summer raspberry crop. My DH made a delicious stir-fry from the kale and snow peas. Our friends really liked the Batavian lettuce in the salad that we served last weekend … it was the only lettuce from the ones planted at the end of April that hadn’t bolted yet.

  6. KC says:

    In VA:

    Cleared out the last of the root cellar potatoes and found the small box of Carolas that I had been saving for replanting (all with long sprouts)… so I put them in the ground and hope they will grow in this heat. I’ve been harvesting patches of worms and seeding beds in need of extra work with the extra worms.

    planted: purple hull pinkeyed crowder peas. more potatoes. cucumbers, and tithonia. I pulled out more pea vines and planted cucurbits and then will mulch between the hills with pea vines.

    harvested: green beans, yellow squash, basil, kale, collard, dill, cilantro, lettuce, endive, nasturtium, calendula, onions, garlic, borage, chard, beets, broccoli, mustard greens, flowers

    preserved: dehydrated a mess of green beans

    waste not/ want not: finally all the potatoes are eaten or mostly planted. My stepmother came for a visit and brought a gift of a lightweight collapsible bin that she found at a yard sale. I will use it to haul leaves to the garden paths. I’ve been mulching the garden paths with recycled newspaper and plan to cover with leaves.

    eat the food: lots of peaches from local orchard, green beans, chard, …nothing special, but everything simple and delicious straight from the garden: chard with butter, stir fried yellow squash and green beans with basil and garlic, omelettes with broccoli and kale.

    community food systems: sharing peaches with friends and neighbors

  7. TLE says:

    I’m off on a work trip to the Northern Hemisphere this week. TERRIBLE for my carbon footprint, but I am foolishly excited at the prospect of eating non-frozen berries. So here’s my last post for a couple of weeks:

    Plant something: spring onions, garlic.

    Harvest something: Mizuna, parsley, pak choy, rocket, radicchio, spring onions, oregano, fennel tops.

    Preserved something: soy yogurt, experimental soy cream cheese (the texture was more like thick sour cream - but I’ll def try again).

    Waste not: usual composting, worm-farming & recycling.

    Want not: Two new resource books arrived this week: the updated copy of ‘Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom’, a great holistic women’s health resource; and ‘Viva Vegan!’, Terry Romero’s Latin vegan cookbook. Viva Vegan looks GREAT for garden/pantry cooking in my climate (ie just sub the sub-tropics).

    Build Community Food Systems: Shared gardening info with friends, including evangelising the ease of growing perennials (specifically jerusalem artichokes & sweet potatoes).

    Eat the food: Kale ‘frittata’ (with tofu) wraps with home-made Mediterranean chutney, bean burgers (using stale bread) with homemade peach salsa; mashed potato with home-grown sweet potatoes; home-baked oatmeal raisin cookies, apple cherry crumble.

  8. Karin says:

    Thank Goodness for Carla Emery’s wise words. Life is so busy these days but I just plant or preserve something every day and the work gets done!

  9. AnneT says:

    Plant: New Zealand spinach
    Harvest: black raspberries, rhubarb, spearmint, white strawberries, spinach, lettuce, garlic scapes, garlic chives, snow peas, green onions
    Preserve: strawberry sauce, bumbleberry spread, rhubarb-strawberry pie filling, Thai mix for stir-fry
    Want not: good quality sheer curtains whose mesh is perfect for produce bags, drying things like granola in the solar dryer, and straining stuff, rescued a half-dozen 2-liter pop bottles from the neighborhood recycling to reuse for elderflower champagne. Picked up some water-based external wood sealer and latex enamel from the hazardous waste depot.
    Waste not: usual recycling, reused some of the sand from our dismantled horseshoe pits to underlay the patio pavers for our “shop patio” (a flat place to put the table saw on when cutting large stuff), took a lot of metal to the recycling depot
    Community food: sharing the garden with a friend.
    Eat the food: salad! snow peas, green onions, and mung bean sprouts in a grass-fed beef stir-fry. Just picked fruit with my granola and kefir in the morning.

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