Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group

Summer on the Farm: August 2020

by Heather Hamilton

I step into the garden and find I am in a sea of soft smells (basil, tomato, calendula) and tender color (pink beans, red lettuce, orange nasturtiums). The marvel of purple tomatillos peeking between leaves catches me by surprise – their paper skins fill invisibly. It is summer, and we catch waves of the season in red raspberries and yellow zucchini flowers opening for the sun; the llamas and alpacas grazing, their fiber shorn away to give respite from the heat. 

The hügelkultur is a froth of kale under the watchful gaze of sunflowers, faces twisting to glint petals against the sky. Garlic stalks present their yellowed, fading leaves. Below ground the fragrant bulbs have swollen into tasty readiness. The perfect moment – full cloves, dry skin, dying leaves – arrives swiftly, and the morning is spent digging these small treasures from the soil. In the absence of rain, the soil crumbles pastel and faded. Watering on mornings following a particularly hot day, the spray hits the garden rows with a sudden, sun hot smell.

It is summer, and we catch waves of the season in red raspberries and yellow zucchini flowers opening for the sun

Summer is a season of watching; of lurch and pause and then a rush of activity. Each plant transforms into recognizable food at a different part of its life cycle, and we match our care to catch the moments of most enticing harvest. The labor of spring unfolds in a tenuous dance of maturity: carrot seedlings still emerging while fruit forms in green orbs on the pumpkin vines, and the fava beans point their pods to the sky, full and ready for harvest. We catch the lettuce before it goes to seed, fill baskets with juicy raspberries, pull tender peas from the vine: leaf, fruit, seed. We watch, and wait, and catch up, always in a dance with time, always in preparation and then, just as quickly, action.

Our harvest bins are heavy with zucchini and broccoli, tomatoes, the rainbow stalks of chard. Baskets fill and empty daily with bouquets of greens. This is summer: days overflowing and evenings still, with the lingering sweet smells of a lush harvest.

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