Sunday, June 7, 2009

End of Spring-Start of Summer Field Tour

I left town again for a little more than a week, plenty of time for change to occur in the farm fields. I walked the fields yesterday to catch up on what is suddenly in season and how recently planted seeds have come along. It is really hard to get past the strawberries though.

Strawberries are in season!!

They are so sweet and available in abundance. The CSA is lucky to have enjoyed them once already and there seems plenty to go around. I really hope you are making the trip to the farm stand to gather your share of early berries this season. I know road-side cherry vendors can be tempting (wherever in the Central Valley they are being imported from), but these berries are the local fruits of your farm's labors and what grows well here. Bring your family to get some sweet and fresh treats right out of the ground with no question of growing practices and no need or worry of washing. Sonoma County is so lucky to have such a reliable source of such incredible edibles!

Lettuce remains perfect. How can you pass up salads on a nightly basis when there are ingredients like this at hand? Lettuce is harder to maintain throughout the summer months and must be planted again and again to beat the heat or else it will quickly become bitter and flower. The time is now for perfect lettuce, but I know the farm will work hard to keep it around as long as possible and all season if possible. It is unlike Tierra Vegetables to not have something available if it is at all possible to grow it in our region.

Spinach is coming to a close for the spring. I hate to see the yellowing leaves that indicate a spinach crop is near the end of it's time and the heat it taking it out until the next fall. This particular spinach I found in the field yesterday was a second spring sowing and is doing quite well. It's time is limited as summer approaches, but for now, it is something to take advantage of for the next week or two. There is something about the flavor and texture of spinach leaves that it is one of my favorite things to munch right out of the fields. I always diligently check for bugs first, of course (this is a good practice I got into after eating a fig with a beetle surprise in the middle last season).

Sugary snap peas! This is another one to enjoy before it is too late. Many people come looking for "vegetables" and don't see all the bounty at a time of year like this. Squash, tomatoes, beans, corn....all this summer stuff is great, but look beyond into all the things that are only spring, winter and fall products. That goes for radishes too. Here are two perfect ingredients for your spring salads with the abundance of lettuce and spinach. I'm already overwhelmed by the possibilities and abundance of food this season. An incredible benefit of working in the world of farming is access to so much great stuff to eat all the time....from this point on it will be hard to decide what to opt for each meal from amidst the bounty of the harvest.
Beets and carrots are ready to go too. Sweet roots ought to be a kitchen staple. The quality of root production on this farm is near perfection in my opinion. Big, sweet and full of nutrition with deep dark purples and oranges infusing your body with it's needs for healthy survival. It is now time to keep up with your weekly ration of sweet candy carrots.

And, in closing for this post, a tease for what is to come. This is literally one of five Sungolds I saw out there, but one of these days the plants will be covered. We are now just weeks and days away from a sweet cherry tomato season. Meanwhile, enjoy your beets, carrots, peas, radishes, salads, greens and strawberries....that is plenty of flavor and texture to hold you over until tomatoes emerge for the season.

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