This evening while my dog Auggie and I were walking, we were listening to a Nutrition Matters podcast. While I love the science and body-love related messages embedded in the content of her episodes, what resonated with me this afternoon was hearing her guest discuss a diet related challenge that offered her better perspective and appreciation on eating habits and patterns that she previously took for granted. As I walked up Surface Creek Road, I gazed around and could see the slight glimmer of yellow that is a sure sign of the aspens leafing out on the Mesa, I was struck by the lush "fern-gully-esque" landscape that last year looked reminiscent of what I imagine the dust bowl to have been, and looked behind me to see the dark thunder clouds rolling north over the San Juans, and I thought to myself what I wouldn't have done to see these storm clouds just once last summer at this time, but this year we have been blessed with rains multiple times weekly. The Mesa still retains a cap of snow on it even from our distant vantage point. And, like the woman being interviewed, I thought that perhaps I needed a tough summer like last year to put things into perspective. How grateful I can now say we are to have had the challenge and heartache of drought to fully appreciate the gift of water this spring.
Despite last summer's drought, Cale and I still are fortunate enough to be feasting almost daily on last year's bounty - onions, garlic, shallots, tomatoes, peppers, dried beans, etc. When we moved over here from the Front Range we had wild pipe dreams of raising all of our own food and by some stroke of grace, we are there! We consider ourselves beyond fortunate that we have not had to shop once for vegetables at the grocery store even through our long cold winter save for some potatoes at St. Patty's Day because what would our corned beef dinner have been without them?!? So when we consider the trials and tribulations of 2018's hard summer, we feel ever the more fortunate, even though this year's summer crops are going to likely be two weeks or so behind last year, to have this wet spring season continue on with us.
Our field is like a different farm from what it was last year at this time. Spring crops that we had nearly given up on after last year's hot May and June and convection-oven like winds that lasted into the fall, are thriving, and our constant lingering desperation for water has subsided into a calm, comfort knowing that we have water for the season. I almost forgot how magical the golden hour can be, that time just before dusk when the sunlight strikes everything with a bronzed tint of gold, but as we've walked the field nightly these past few days watching with wonder and awe as the plants seem to be growing right before our eyes, it can be described as nothing short of magical. The cucumbers and summer squash have started to germinate, the potatoes seem to have grown literally four inches over the weekend and the same is true of our first bed of carrots, the sunflowers are now tall enough that they have a very slight bend in them as they follow the sun across the sky, the onions are actually looking like onions, not just blades of grass sticking out of an otherwise barren bed, the cabbages are starting to head up, and the Montana Giant garlic that we experimented with this year is now chest high on me. I've never seen garlic like this before.
After farm stand veggie pick up yesterday, we were finally able to get our first couple hundred peppers and tomatoes planted in the field. And, oh how wonderful it felt to be planting them into moist soil this year as opposed to the parched earth that last year you almost felt guilty introducing any sort of life into. Our hoophouse peppers and tomatoes are LOVING these 70-plus degree days and within their short lives outdoors are already showing signs of new growth. We have a TON of work ahead of us still this week - seeding more beans and winter squash, getting all of our corn in the ground, and transplanting the remainder of the warm season crops - but we'll be counting our lucky stars for the productive few days behind us and for the abundance of water that is bringing our field so much life these days.
This week, we continue to have absolutely gorgeous hakurei turnips and radishes coming from the field. Our first kohlrabi are ready and coming from the hoophouse, and they were sweet and just downright amazing sliced thin on our salads this week. We have a tender new bed of salad greens that I've been swooning over this week, a lovely new bed of spicy greens from the field, and the ever-delicate pea shoots. The kale is coming on strong and is so tasty, and our new bed of colorful swiss chard is succulent and delicious. We have stunning red butterhead lettuces coming from the hoop houses and limited herbs and eggs available as well.
And with this, we wish each of you a happy June and a wonderful week ahead! Thank you for your support of our farm and local, organic agriculture! It is our great privilege and honor to be growing food for you.
In gratitude, Melissa & Cale