Today we took advantage of the opportunity to tour some local farms, which was offered by Oasis at Bird-in-Hand, one of my favorite places to shop. The farms on the tour are organic properties where the hard-working farmers produce healthy, delicious, organic food to be sold by Oasis at their store and farmer’s market stands, through their CSA program, and through other grocers and vendors.
We buy a number of items at Oasis weekly, so I was excited to accept the open invitation for customers to take a self-guided tour of select properties to see their farms and meet and talk with the farmers. I fancy myself a micro-farmer here at The Thistle Field, and I’m no stranger to farms, having grown up literally surrounded by them, but I was happy to visit the properties and glean ideas and information from the people who are managing the production of the dairy, eggs, and other items we enjoy.
I usually roll up to Oasis about once a week to procure four dozen eggs, yogurt, milk, and cottage cheese, among other sundry items, so meeting the dairy farmers was very interesting to me. One of the farmers we met produces the raw milk sold at the store. He showed us some of his calves, one of which was born on Monday. She was still wobbly-legged, and totally cute.
Another farmer on the tour produces the pasteurized milk, while yet another farming couple supplies certified organic vegetables from their beautiful fields. At each stop, there were fun surprises like samples, pony cart rides, and even the opportunity to take home a free veggie. (Full disclosure: The yellow squash I selected has already been cooked and served. It was delish). I was surprised the farm had so many ripe squash already, but Ruth, the proprietress, explained that she had been working with covered tunnels while the weather was still cold, so she had a good edge on the season.
Conveniently, two of the stops were right by my weekly shopping haunts, so I was able to combine farm-touring and grocery procurement. Woot! Miss Thistle had lots of fun too. I’m not sure how interested in the mechanics of agriculture she was, but several of the farms had nice play-sets, and one had a trampoline, so that was a win in her book. An added bonus was that we ran into some of her little besties, so she had a blast playing with them at the various stops.
In other news, cherries are ripe and in season! (But whew, the price! Totally worth it). Perfectly ripe cherries are a distinct pleasure, and we ate $8.99 worth of that distinct pleasure today. I grow a lot of things, but I don’t have cherries, so I was willing to spend out for these lovelies. I thought they might last a little longer than one afternoon, but that’s cool.
Around The Thistle Field, garden mulching continued, and Mr. Thistle repurposed some old bricks to create splash-pads under our rain chains. Hopefully we won’t have as much wash-out when it deluges.
I have harvested the currants, and they are shiny, red, and beautiful. The birds agree! The gooseberries are very nearly ripe, so they are next on the list. It’s also time to harvest and freeze some kale to be enjoyed in the winter months. I noticed that the jalapeños and habaneros have started to produce, so I’m pumped about that as well. I love my spicy peppers …
Finally, the sunset this evening was a knockout! Lovely, no?
How are you spending your summer days?