The apex of summer OR am I gettng used to this heat?
Sunflowers epitomize summer. The gold finches love these teddy bear sunflowers. They love to rob the seeds right out of the flower heads even before the seeds are fully ripe. For some reason, the summer feels like it has reached its apex, maybe because we have entered august. Or maybe it's because our bucks are starting to go into rut, making it seem more like early September than early August. On the other hand, the endless days of 90+ temperatures and 100+ heat index make it feel like we will have a perpetual summer. I think I am actually getting used to these extremes of heat and drought. The other thing that screams summer is tomatoes--ours are coming in fast and furious--gorgeous Rose de Berne--a large meaty red tomato, Cherokee Green--a tart green & yellow striated tomato and the rich, tangerine orange Valencia with mellow flesh and no seeds and let's not forget the Striped German with it's orange body and burst of red deliciousness on the bottom. Of course, the Juliets are thick on the tomato vines like clusters of grapes. I've been busy drying them for the "Heirloom Tomato Chevre."
The rain clouds loom on the horizon, but skirt us as they roll to the east. As I write, the sky has turned an eerie pale yellow-green with a pink cast (is it a tornado sky??). Wes and Ben cut our pitifully stunted and past-bloom alfalfa hay today, so it will probably rain tomorrow just before we have time to bail it and get it into the barn. This year's hay cutting is a kin to a rain dance, unfortunately.
This weekend, we're attending three farmers' markets: Urbana and Green City Market on Saturday and Logan Square Market in Chicago on Sunday. Since our Green City Market cheese monger, Pat, is attending the American Cheese Society conference in Raleigh (no doubt gorging himself on the 1700+ cheese entries for the cheese competition), we have a guest monger to greet our Green City Market customers. Her name is Kate--although she has been to our farm (and taken some gorgeous photos of the farm and our cheeses), she is new to the world of cheese mongering, so please be kind to her and buy lots of cheese from her. Speaking of cheese, we've got a great line up for you to enjoy this weekend:
- Fresh chevre--plain, herbs de Provence and making its summer debut: Heirloom tomato chevre (a note to our cracked pepper chevre fans--the pepper chevre will take a hiatus while the tomato chevre steps in. If you are in desperate need of pepper chevre, just buy our plain chevre and crack some black peppercorns into it-that's all we do anyway!)
- All bloomy rind cheeses except Angel Food and Little Bloom on the Prairie--Ewe Bloom, Black Goat, Black Sheep and Krotovina
- Pecorino Romano
Urbana market goers can get their gelato fix this Saturday with a cornucopia of flavors. With so many to choose from, you'll have to buy at least two:
- Margot's Mint
- Chocolate Mint
- Rhubarb Swirl
- Honey Lavender
- Vanilla Chevre
- NEW FLAVOR: Blackberry Cream (made with our very own blackberries)
- NEW FLAVOR: Lemon Verbena-Thyme (made with our very own garden herbs)
- Peach sorbetto
- Nectarine sorbetto
Embrace the heat; it's time to eat some great local food--we farmers are doing all we can to keep the abundance flowing.