What's in the Harvest Basket for the Week of July 19th:
- Rainbow chard: the chard is at its ultimate apogee on the farm right now - luxuriously abundant, glossy, colorful and succulent. We love this variety, "Bright Lights," because of the infinite diversity of sunset colors that streak the stems.
- Head Lettuce
- Walla Walla Sweet Onions
- Red Long of Tropea torpedo onions
If you're looking for cooking inspiration to help you use your veggies each week, I stumbled upon this online site and app when I googled "chard and dill recipes:" https://www.supercook.com/search/dill-and-chard/?page=1. Supercook.com trawls the internet for word matches and finds relevant recipes. I can't vouch that they'd all be awesome, but it's not a bad place to start when you're staring into your fridge trying to figure out how to use up your harvest basket.
An Adventure 35 Years in the Making
Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved horses. She played with toy horses, she dreamt of horses, she hung on gates and gazed at other people's horses. She longed for her own real, live horse but her mom was allergic and her sister was afraid. So she continued to arrange and rearrange the plastic figurines on the shelf in her bedroom and fantasized about horses and unicorns and pegasi. But when she turned 9, a real horse came into her life - a rescue with lots of neurotic tics - but a horse nonetheless. She threw herself into loving that horse, waking up at 5:30 every school day to muck the barn and feed the mare, sprinting back at 4 each day as soon as the schoolbus dropped her at the bottom of the driveway. She rode all over her little valley, exploring old logging roads and finding hidden meadows up in the hills. She longed to explore farther afield, but with no truck and trailer she would clip-clop the five miles down the county road to the beach and ride wild and free by the ocean until sundown. She would coax her mare into the lake, nudging her forward until the bottom dropped away and then they would be swimming together. Her friend, who's family was all cowboy, took a horsepacking trip to Montana one summer. She envied them. Someday, she thought.
The little girl eventually grew up and moved away. When her old mare was dying, she drove back home and laid with her out in the pasture under a brilliant star-studded winter sky. When the mare sighed her final exhale, a quiet moment passed and then a huge shooting star streaked across the valley from one ridgetop to the other. She lived out in the world without horses for a decade, a small hole in the corner of her soul. But finally her compass needle turned her back towards the little valley so she could farm with her family. She had learned how to drive workhorses in Montana by then and she brought a team of big Belgian drafts home with her. She knew farming would be all-consuming, so best to figure out a way to feather horses into her workday.
All-consuming it was, along with having two daughters and an old house to fix up. When her gelding died of colic, the excavator dug a massive hole in the westernmost reach of the pasture. Eventually she started farming in that spot and to this day that field still grows the biggest heads of broccoli. Once again it was just her and an old mare, who she worked single in the fields with her babies on her back. Eventually two more horses arrived on the farm, a team of Belgian/Morgan crossbreds who were broke to harness and the saddle. The girl was longing to ride again, to feel that freedom, to not always have it be about work. And so she found a saddle big enough, and she saved money for a horse trailer, and little by little her old dream came back into focus: to ride into the wilderness astride a beloved horse and disappear into the mountains for a week. Or two.
This week the girl's dream comes true: she's leaving in an hour for a five day horsepacking trip in the Trinity Alps with her friend, Laura (another organic vegetable horse farmer who, similarly, has been burning the candle at both ends the past week gearing up to leave her farm in late July). The Belgian/Morgan team is geared up for the mountains with saddlebags and sturdy shoes. The girl is full of gratitude for the entire farm team that's keeping the farm running for the rest of the week; for her husband, who spent half his day getting her truck fixed yesterday when it decided to break down in the 11th hour before her trip; and for her mom, who got her that first horse in spite of being allergic so that a dream could come true. Little tears are spattering the girl's keyboard right now.
P.S. if you need to reach the girl this week, she will be completely out of cell and email range through Monday 7/26. Her mom will be checking the farm email, but the girl's phone will be turned off. Remember, good things are always worth waiting for, even if it takes 35 years.