Surviving July is all in how you view it

Oh, July! Hot, productive, busy, overwhelming July! Hottest month of the year. Picking raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, gooseberries, peaches, plums, first of the summer apples, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, cantaloupes, watermelon, corn….all of the summer bounty rushes to ripen and is ready for harvest. The days are packed. July is the fruition of a lot of planning and planting.

Oh yes, and generally the weeds have gone totally crazy by July.

It’s always funny when people ask if we are closed for July 4 (unless it falls on a Sunday, the answer is no). The plants do not take a holiday in July. We have Sundays off (always), but we would be light years behind if we took another day off in July. This year, July 4 is hovering at a balmy 91 degrees after 5 straight days in the 90s—you can practically see the berries ripening in front of your eyes.  We close a few hours early to give our employees a chance to spend some time with their families. For family members, it’s a chance to eat dinner before 8 and go to bed early (happy birthday, country, see you in the morning!).

There is a special excitement to July when we welcome each summer fruit or vegetable—heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, peaches, Methley plums (aka “sugar plums”), etc. Bursting with flavor, juicy, nothing like eating fresh. The long daylight hours must imbue extra flavor in these crops, because nothing else seems to taste this good! We are always thrilled when we see crates of tomatoes and flats of berries coming in from the fields.

The end of July usually brings a sense of relief. The intense heat is almost over (night time temperatures start dropping in the next two weeks!). Some of the crops are lessening in their abundance. Picking berries (gooseberries, currants, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries) has been a very hot marathon, and the end of July brings picking down to a reasonable level. If we have done it right, we all have eaten an abundance of peaches, blackberries, beans, zucchini, blueberries, etc., and we know we still have some time to feast on these goodies. But we know the end of blueberries is nigh even though peaches will comfort us for another 6 weeks. Green beans are still going strong, but lima beans bring a harbinger of autumn. The first summer apples remind us that September is not far away at all.

It’s hot in July, but that’s ok. It’s summer, and it is supposed to be hot. No point complaining when the peaches, corn, and tomatoes all enjoy the heat. And we get to enjoy the produce!  Kick back, eat that watermelon, grill those vegetables, slice those tomatoes, and enjoy your picnic. We only have one month to celebrate July.

~ Ruth


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