|My Seed Poppies in June|
Happy First Harvest!
It’s Lammas, the ancient Anglo-Saxon festival celebrating the first harvest. On this holiday, halfway between summer solstice and autumn equinox, ancients gathered grain and baked bread to share in hopes that later harvests would be bountiful. In ancient Celtic tradition, Lughnasadh is a time for harvest wild caneberries as well as grains.
Here in the Santa Cruz mountains, we have little corn and no wheat to harvest. But I do have seeds from poppies planted back in early April, and a perfect dry summer day for harvesting. Blackberries are beginning to ripen along rural pathways, so like the Celts we can graze in nature. August is a rich month for harvests, and the easiest time of year to eat locally on a budget. Below are a few foods to look for from your local farm this month.
|Wild Blackberries: the Promise of More|
3. Peppers: Both sweet and hot peppers are coming in like crazy, and will be for awhile. They love hot weather, and hot varieties get hotter as the season heats up. They pair famously with in-season tomatoes and eggplant. The latter is a bit more fussy crop than tomatoes and peppers, so is rarely cheap. However, the latter part of the month holds promise for eggplant-loving bargain hunters.
|Thawing Frozen Basil for Winter Cooking|
|Tell Your Neighbor: I Like Squash!|
6. Green beans: At the peak of their season, they’re coming in like crazy, yet still picked young enough to be tender. As the season progresses, they’ll become woodier. Get ‘em early in the month, don’t wait.
|My Neighbor's SC Mountain Corn!|
8. Peaches and Nectarines: According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), peaches top of the Dirty Dozen list of produce containing the most dangerous pesticides. Nectarines are about halfway down the list. Pesticides penetrate their thin skins and permeate the fruit so that washing them is of limited value. Ask questions: just because you find it at the farmers market doesn’t mean it’s organic. The end-of-the-day bargain approach can be employed with these soft fruits too. You can freeze or dehydrate them to enjoy during the winter.
9. Apricots and Plums: Get these early in August, before they go out of season. There are many varieties of Pluots, Apriums, and other hybrids that you might enjoy. Try making some jam or freezing them for future enjoyment.
|Lammas Poppies Ready for Harvest|
Have other favorite August-harvested produce? Leave a comment and let us know about it!