The hum of honey bees and a louder buz from bumble bees accompanies me while I’m harvesting raspberries.  I eat all the berries that have been munched by other fellow creatures that know what is sweet and wholesome. Thanks to the pollinators, we will have an awesome crop! I have learned to be careful with bees, as I would with an old friend. I’m not afraid of them as I was when kneehigh to a grasshopper; they don’t mind being gently brushed away. We should soon have enough to give everyone some in their market share; but until then, they will be for sale.

If you are interested in seeing a nice selection of photos from our wedding “event” check out roamingpen.blogspot.com! It was a very special day.

Steve and I got back from another potato harvest around 8:30 this evening for a wonderful meal prepared by Esther. She fried up chard with onions, garlic and a bit of tomato, just enough for flavor but not soupy. It was a nice side dish along with the other items she had prepared.

We plan to make some pesto for everyone to sample at the market. There will also be watermelon to sample and some to purchase. The lack of rain made a HUGE impact on our crop – we were hoping for a trailerful, which will not happen.

The rest of the harvest should include: chard, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, cilantro, parsley, basil, fennel, beans, and summer squash.

Bee holey

There is another quiet revolution going on our farm….we have bees! I can gaze at a colorful grouping of flowers and note honey bees going about their business. I am told they are friendly creatures as long as I don’t block their front door while wearing dark clothing as I’m jumping and thumping or yelling. If you think about it, my front door would remain locked if you showed up doing any of those antics so…be warned!

Our buckwheat is in full bloom, prairie flowers are just getting started, and perennials are each bursting forth with their vivid palette of colors in due season. Honey bees are a wonder to study – collecting pollen which contains protein for brood rearing and nectar for food storage in the form of honey. Pollination is an added benefit of honey bees. Many plants require pollinators to produce seeds but not necessarily to produce fruit from seeds… such as many root crops. Melons, cucumbers, squash, most fruit tree crops, and raspberries all need lots of visitors at their flowers. The moral to this story is: Please learn to be friendly to bees – be careful with herbicides and pesticides.

Holey is what comes from many insect visitors setting up lunch on our leaf pads – be they basil, Tokyo Bekana or cabbage. We do try our best to discourage such feasting by using a companion crop (such as radishes), a special brew , Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or covering the crop. We don’t want to rely on one type of strategy since adaptation is a genetic defense and hopping on the stronger-is better-wagon lands us all in a mess.

For those that have been singing the radish song…..it will come to a halt soon. The weather got hot and I have them all to pickle! I hope to have a sample for you to taste and if you like it….. you can take some home. Be forewarned, I was wondering why the house smelled queer when I was making radish pickles and….my son reminded me that radishes are from the cabbage family and brassicas aren’t known for their perfume!

The harvest this week should include….a few more garlic scapes, a large bunch of green onions, a large bunch of carrots, radishes, Tokyo bekana, Pac choi, oregano, mint, dill and a sampling of spinach.

Oh a foraging we will go…

What fun it is to find tasty treasures on a walkabout! My latest woodland menu item is steamed solomon’s seal. I fried a few green onions in olive oil and then added the tender tips of solomon seal with a few spoonfuls of water. After a couple of minutes, when the greens look limp, they are ready to be served as you would asparagus. I learned about solomon seal when having weekly potlucks with Lao women friends. It is eaten as a cooling side dish served up with sticky rice and a fiery dipping sauce.

I used to yank these plants out of flower beds knowing full well they would be my eternal friends, coming back each year with a bigger spring blessing. Now I am thankful for each green plot! I begin to see “lunch” wherever I look!

Tomorrow evening is the third meeting with our zoning board to approve our request for keeping bee hives on our 20 acres. The queen bees arrive tomorrow so we hope to have all the papers signed so royalty can set up their housekeeping in the very near future.

To report on all our winter work preparing for share members would require a tedious read. The important news is that Spring Share Pickups begin next Wednesday, May 9, from 3-6 p.m. Our garage gets a makeover and becomes the Jubilee Farm Market. We will have your market boxes ready for you to fill at your first visit. Feel free to park on the street or drive up to the garage, making sure to keep to one side so that others can pass. I just ask that the car motor is turned off rather than left idling.

Next week’s harvest and farm market should include: salad greens including lettuces, spinach, mache and claytonia, head lettuce, rhubarb, chives, mint, oregano, asparagus and a few other surprises..depending on the weather. This has been a challenging spring since we are essentially one month ahead of time with the early warmup.

We have many pounds of salad greens for sale this week, give me a call at 507-360-3293, and I’ll have your order ready!

Please sign up for summer shares if you have not done so as yet. Thanks!