A Taste of Summer

A Taste of Summer

After the soggiest start to a season we’ve had in a while, things are starting to look really abundant around here at Red Dog! As I walk the fields, I see the baby plant starts we recently transplanted growing big and strong as they soak up the glorious – albeit intermittent – sunshine. Such a colorful array greets the eyes – the gorgeous stems of red chard, the deep forest-green of lacinato kale, and the whimsical purple stems of red Russian kale.

The farm also smells lovely! Nootka rose is blooming, as is wild chamomile, and we’ve begun harvesting our young alliums, like green onions and garlic, which always smell so delicious and make me hungry whenever I walk by. This week we’re welcoming to the CSA share one of my very favorite herbs whose scent is so intoxicating that it immediately transports me to summer like Proust’s madeleine. Salads made with juicy heirloom tomatoes and burrata, balsamic reduction, strawberries, pesto… You guessed it, I’m talking about basil!! 

Several weeks ago we filled one of our greenhouses with young basil plants, and this week they are ready to share with you! The first harvest of any crop is always exciting, but basil holds a special place in my heart. Harvesting basil often feels like a meditation to me. I go through each plant taking only the top clusters of leaves that are big and ready, and leaving the small leaf clusters beneath for the next harvest. It feels not just like harvesting but also like caretaking, helping the plants to grow tall and robust without getting chaotically bushy or going to seed before their time. It’s a delicate dance, and the basil plants feel a little bit like my babies! I hope you will enjoy eating this special crop as much as I enjoy caring for it here at the farm. 🙂

It may not be time just yet for tomatoes or strawberries (strawberry basil ice cream, anyone?) but this first basil harvest does make me dream about the summer foods that are yet to come… In the meantime, fire up those pizza ovens for an early taste of summer! It is, after all, just around the corner.