I have to say that I love the first week of June. By June 1st all of the summer plants are in the ground. When you get too far into June, any long season plants like tomatoes and melons will have a hard time producing before the nip of Jack Frost will kill their momentum. So we really use the first week of June as the end of our summer planting.
It is an interesting time psychologically as well because it is the time when your planning is over. Optimism runs into the wall of reality. Talk to any farmer in January and February and they are beaming with optimism. By June reality starts to set in and you hear, “Stinking flea beetles killed my new seeds and weeds swallowed my carrots.”
In your life, you will never meet anyone more optimistic than a farmer. And you will never meet anyone more used to suffering loss than a farmer. They say that people who are addicted to gambling actually get a bigger high off of losing than they do winning. It makes me wonder if farmers are addicted gamblers with dirty hands??
With all of that said, we are experiencing a pretty good year so far. Greens and roots have been rocking and we are just dipping into the summer squash harvest. Cukes will be next. So I cannot complain of loss too much right now. Hopefully this bounty will continue. Fingers crossed.
This is a good time to talk about summer squash actually. We are growing some really crazy looking squash this year. Most of them look like they came out of Roswell or seed created by an alien life form. These squash, most of them in the patty pan variety, are perfect for grilling. They have a little denser flesh than most zucchini types so they grill up very nicely. Regardless of how you cook them, use them in a similar fashion as you would any zucchini.
My other love of the first week in June is it being the week that we launched the CSA in 2003. We began as a CSA farm and still today operate as a CSA farm. We have never been a Farmers’ Market or wholesale driven farm. From the first harvest until now, we do what we do for our members. Sure our model has expanded and we raise 150 pigs a year (never thought I would be a pig farmer), but our roots are still the exact same as when the farm broke ground.
My favorite statistic from our history happened in the first week of our CSA, 2003. At the time, they was only one CSA in the community. So the idea of supporting a farm (besides going to the farmers’ market) was foreign to most folks. Because of that, I was only able to bring 17 members to the table by our first week. Someone not so lovingly called my farm and dream of a CSA “A Lemonade Stand.” Another local (farmers’ market) grower literally laughed in my face “You think a CSA can work here? Haha.”
But then by the second week, an amazing thing happened, our CSA doubled to 34. Our members loved the food and this new CSA idea so much that they told their friends/family and viola, the Lemonade Stand was running.
And there is no time of your life when you will feel as vulnerable as you do when you say, “Hey, folks, this is my dream, please support it/me.” So when people get behind you and help support/push your dream, the feeling is right up there with watching the birth of your child. There is that same sense of responsibility and of working hard (and smart) to not let your babies down. Now, our little baby is in her Testing Teen years and I have never felt better or more confident in what we have raised together.
It is crazy for me to see too that the little kiddos who used to come to the farm and ride their tricycles around are sending me graduation announcements and going on to great things. They are a reminder for me that people change, families change, and yes, even we have changed a lot. But what has never changed is our commitment to our members and bringing you the best and healthiest food. Thanks for sharing this wonderful journey with me.