- Swiss chard
- Yellow squash
Now, I don’t mean to bore you with the repetitive ramblings of a raving farmer, but I’ll tell you anyway. It hasn’t rained! We haven’t had any decent sort of rain since the beginning of May. The grass crunches like late fall leaves. There are cracks in the ground so big, you can fit your whole hand in them. Not just your fingers. Your whole hand! Rivers are low, lakes are low, ponds are low. Creeks have dried up completely. Farmers grazing cattle are breaking out stored feed, because there is no green pasture. Other CSAs are suspending deliveries. If tree fruits weren’t hurting before with the freeze, they sure are hurting now. Oh, and the corn! Have you seen the corn? I drove west across the state this week and it’s so, so sad. Everything is so brown and stunted and spotty. I mistook a corn field for a field of garlic! I didn’t even want to look out the window. (Good thing I was just a passenger.) Governor Scott Walker has declared a state of emergency in 42 counties. Ozaukee county included.
Now, now, Tory, you wouldn’t be a farmer if you didn’t have some dumb streak of optimism… So, yes, this drought is terrible, but there are worse things that could happen and we’re certainly not the first people on Earth to experience drought. I’m sure other parts of the world would love to see one tenth of an inch of rain in a month. And Crooked Carrot Farm has drip irrigation where other vegetable growers in the area don’t. So, the days continue to pass, and I try not to ask myself questions like, “What if it doesn’t rain? What if the pond dries up and I have no water to irrigate? What if the Midwest turns into a desert and all I can grow is cactus?!” But again, I try not to ask myself those questions, at least not too often.
Back to the vegetables. I never liked fennel. I thought it was gross. My mother loves black licorice and no one else in the family does, so whenever she sneaks out a bag of it, there is a collective groan of disgust. If you’re going to eat candy, at least eat good tasting candy. But now I love fennel despite its anise flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete convert. It’s still yucky raw (although some people love it raw and God bless you for that), but I will definitely eat it cooked. Add it to pot pies or roasts or stir frys (lots of this week’s veggies in this recipe). Savory goes well with pretty much everything. Try it with the squash or on chicken or fish. Swiss chard pairs really well with bacon. (What doesn’t, right?) Try this sauteed swiss chard recipe from the Food Network. Support your local sugar shacks (the maple syrup industry is in tough shape this year, too) and make some maple glazed carrots.
So that’s the story this week. Some abbreviated fiddle-faddle heavily laced with classic, vain farmer gripes. And one more thing: the crows are eating my melons! It’s not just the veggies that are thirsty, so are the animals. Eat up and keep doing that rain dance, please.