|Mixed berries and drupes for our first "Homestead Jam"|
|No shortage of these heavenly blackberries this year.|
|Skimming the foam off the jam, hoping to incorporate it into a beverage|
a la M.F.K Fisher in Gastronomical Me
|Assistant Blackberry Picker|
After my presentation today we swung by the West Allis Farmers' Market; I believe this was our first visit there this season. I ran into a Master Gardener friend who regularly attends my cooking classes and of course we started discussing the weather. She informed me that one of the farmers in attendance had just experienced his well running dry. One whole aisle of farmers, who are usually ramping up for peak produce season by this time, was absent. I wasn't even upset when, after I chose to buy a mixed bunch of lettuces from another grower, I got home to realize that they were all bolted. These farmers are trying to sell whatever bits and pieces of vegetables they have managed to salvage from this drought. It's heartbreaking.
As you can imagine with this ongoing lack of rain and intense heat, my garden is also dire need of care--though I can't begin to compare it to what our state's large producers are experiencing. Certain perennials in our front yard landscape have literally burned up, various successions of seeds have been unable to germinate and/or poke through the soil because of its crust, and I've now counted six different species of insects--some remaining unidentified--beating up on my zucchini and other squash plants. My only serious concern on the homestead (though I have countless concerns for the farmers in our region) is that in late August I'm hosting a preserves and pastries event for our church and am hoping the homestead looks presentable for garden dining. (Yeah, seems like a luxury to want that when so many folks' entire livelihoods depend on every bit of rain.) I'm already getting close to writing this garden season off, starting to think about next year (and incorporating more permaculture to work with climate challenges), and having visions of cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Time to refocus and be in the moment.