When you see sweet corn in your box, you have to know it’s summer. And when it’s my Cousin Ryan’s sweet corn, you know it’ll be kernel snapping sweet fabulosity (fabulosity really is a word because I just added it to my dictionary). Ryan’s been the sweet corn guy since he was his kid’s age; the kids man the corn stand out on Avenue 400 now. He’ll have it for you for about a month so suck up some summer goodness and don’t be bashful about letting him know how much you appreciate his art.
When you see David Silveira’s gorgeous pole tomatoes in your box, you know it’s summer. He tries really hard to pick ’em close to ripe for you and we try really hard to protect ’em with that little piece of cardboard. Carol put a couple slices on my plate last night and I was very grateful for David and summer. His email’s right there below his produce, and in the words of Mark Twain: “I can go a whole month on one good compliment.”
When you see David Mendrin’s personal size watermelons and summer squash in your box, you know it has to be summer. He’s been experimenting with different varieties of melon and squash these many years and by golly, I think he’s got it. The melon is crisp, firm, not much rind and just enough seeds so you know it’s a real watermelon. I love to see all the colors and shapes of summer squash on the supper table as well. You guessed it, his email’s right there with the other guys.
This is one of the big things that separates AHO from not only the supermarket, but frankly from most of the CSAs and farmer’s markets. You not only know who your farmer, rancher, and chef is, but you can communicate personally with them, go visit their place, send ’em a picture of your family with juice running down their happy faces or some critter you hadn’t bargained for in the produce and how you named it Willie the worm and set it free to seek his fortune in the backyard; or other less altruistic destinations.
For the fruit portion, there have been several great options every week. What you need to know about stone fruit is, a given variety is only good for about five days in May, and three weeks in August, so to have peaches from May till September, we have to have that many varieties ripening along the calendar. If your store leaves up the Santa Rosa sign in front of the plums all summer, now you know it just ain’t so.
So what’s worthy of our effort? What’s an attainable satisfying goal that normal people like you and I can be proud of investing our lives and careers in? Greatness? What is it really? Fame? Certainly doesn’t seem to last and is seldom ascribed to people we all would call good. Wealth? Pretty hollow and fleet of wing.
It was just Father’s Day, and good kids taking their responsible places in the business and our community was way better than any gift, so I would say that investing in our families has to be job one. Not everyone is going to have a family business for the kids to be part of or that they would even want to be a part of, but the family business can certainly be charity, forgiveness, generosity, virtue, and love.
The sobering thing is, the family business will be inherited one way or another, so parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, our role is so important to watching little eyes. Take ’em with you when you volunteer at the homeless shelter, tutor a kid in math, plant trees in your town or visit shut-ins. The unspoken message will be: We are Jones, this is how we roll. Corn, tomatoes, melons. Yea summer! EAT HEALTHY!!!