Uncle Vern’s weekly farm-fueled musings, re-posted here on the Abundant Harvest Kitchen Blog
Fresh Facts from 7/06/2013
It is just terribly, ridiculously HOT! How hot is it Uncle Vern? It’s so hot, I saw two trees fightin’ over one dog. We get a spell of this every year of course, but this year it’s humid to boot; yuck. Heat, no problem for this San Joaquin Valley. Boy, but humidity…There wasn’t even a shadow at 2:00 yesterday afternoon it was so overcast.
Did I mention it’s hot?
Here’s the good news. Fruit ripens fastest in the 80s. When highs are in the 80 to low 90 range, you’d best be climbing ladders and filling boxes or the harvest will get away from you and you’ll be filling cull trucks with soft fruit. Of course you can put in 10 hour days when you have to if the temperature is only in the 80s. When we’re in the 100-something range, the tree shuts down and puts all its energy into transpiration. You have to quit by 1:00 because of the heat, but it’s ok. Peaches will wait if you’ve been diligent, started at 5:15 in the morning , and gave it your best shot. Amazing how all this was designed.
I think flavor intensifies as well in the heat. We say that “heat makes sweet,” but this year even the B-list varieties are eating pretty good. Honestly, quality and flavor have never been better in my career than what we’re experiencing this year and everyone––melon, tomatoes, corn––is saying the same thing: “Never better.” You can use this year as a bench mark for how things should be when everything’s perfect; might happen again in another 20 years.
Hey, speaking of hot, I was in Phoenix a couple weeks ago. 90 degrees at 9 a.m. hot, but dry. Cancer Treatment Centers of America flew our CCOF board out there to show off the organic farm they’ve built around their Goodyear, AZ facility. Let me make about 4 observations.
1) While the hospital had invested a ton in infrastructure––leveling, irrigation pond––the farmer was creating a miracle in the desert. Kale to cucumbers to sweet corn; beautifully done.
2) CCOF stands for California Certified Organic Farmers. We’re the oldest and largest organic certifier in the country, celebrating our 25th birthday this year. What has so impressed me has been the overriding diligence to insure the integrity of organics regardless the circumstance, and those circumstances are quite diverse.
3)I was very impressed with the attitude and delivery system. Each patient and employee I spoke to privately was so grateful to be treated by or work in such a place. Their motto is, “Doctor, the patient is ready to see you now.” If I or a loved one needed cancer treatment, that’s where I’d be.
4) Let thy food be thy medicine. Its finally coming back around and acknowledged at the highest levels of medicine. Most of our ailments have dietary roots. While this is an over simplification, generally, our health and vibrancy are determined by what we eat, how it was produced, and how it was prepared. Our current medicine generally treats the symptom.
Even enlightened doctors I talk to are frustrated. Their patients (us) expect a pill to mask the symptoms and don’t want to hear about exercise and meal choices.
Finally––albeit slowly––hospitals around the country are tearing out lawn and planting organic gardens, putting up organic greenhouses, and acknowledging that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Our goal is to make that ounce adventurously tasty