The farm is brimming with things to eat. Spring crops are ready to harvest and summer crops are planted and growing. In late May, everything is in its place. Let’s take a walk through the garden.
The spring leafy greens we planted in March and April grew so fast this past month, you could probably see them growing if you pulled up a chair and watched. Now they are leafy and succulent. It makes my mouth water just to break off a leafy stalk of Napa cabbage and hear the juicy snap. Bunches of red leaf lettuce fill a row. Asian Tatsoi are dark green bouquets and taste like delicate spinach. The sweet Hakurai salad turnips are little white globes my kids eat raw like an apple. Beets are almost ready. The deep, red globes contrast with the white turnips. Chard and kale are at their best, dark green and brimming with nutrition. Scallions are plentiful, aromatic and delicious. I toss them into salads, omelets and stir-fries. The herb garden is brimming with savory spices that make me want to cook. Pick a sprig of thyme and squeeze it to release the aroma. The strawberries ripen so fast, we walk the rows in both the morning and evening for a treat. Dessert for our tour.
We’ve walked the rows of spring crops; now let’s tour the summer crops. Potato plants are filling out and zucchini are getting ready to flower. Peppers and eggplants are newly transplanted now that the soil is warming up. We walk under the bean trellis, lined with pole bean plants. The bean plants are ankle high now. Soon the vines will twist around the metal frame and create a lovely canopy. In midsummer, we can walk under the bean hut and pick long purple beans from the cute little hut. The tomato plants are growing taller every day, making us wait in anticipation of the summer harvest to come. The cucumber vines are coming along, too. I love cucumbers, but it is hard work to harvest a long row of them every few days. I get help from farm volunteers. I call chilled cucumbers “farm Popsicles” and hand them out to kids.
Walking the garden ignites my cravings for fresh, raw salads made from crunchy, succulent greens. It begs for my attention. When I walk the garden, I can’t resist snapping a leaf to chomp on, grabbing a bowl for a salad or getting a harvest basket ready. Vegetables sitting on grocery store shelves rarely induce these reactions. It is no wonder that produce fresh off the farm is more nutritious than produce harvested days ago. I can feel it, as I walk the garden this evening in May.
Ilene White Freedman and her husband, Phil, operate House in the Woods Farm, a certified organic CSA farm established in 2000 and based in Adamstown. House in the Woods Farm (www.houseinthewoods.com) aims to connect people to their food, community and the land.