It’s Thursday. The heat index: 103 degrees.
It’s also CSA day, which means that we spend the day harvesting. At 3:30, our CSA members start showing up at the barn door, bags at the ready and children in tow. It’s exciting, knowing that every eggplant I snip from its maliciously purple-black vine will end up in someone’s dinner.
In the morning, Claudia is harvesting Purple Peacock, a cross between broccoli and kale. I am in the beds of broccoli nearby, snapping off florets (each broccoli plant grows one main head of broccoli; once you cut that from the stem, little broccoli babies called florets emerge). I carry a full bucket of broccoli to the cart at the edge of the field. Bins of lettuce and Purple Peacock wait in the cart already; someone will take it all down to the barn soon, where it will get washed and stored in the walk-in cooler until the CSA members arrive.
Rachel, our vegetable manager, comes over to see how we’re doing. I ask what she is picking; she says that we have cucumbers! Cucumbers! Our first of the season! In fact, she says, one of the cucumbers was stuck in the trellising, so she figured we would have to eat it. She hands me two quarters of the cuke– one for me and one for Claudia.
Back in the broccoli beds, I call to Claudia. We meet halfway and I place the cucumber quarter, heavy and juicy-looking, in her hand. We bite in, and I start to laugh– the joy of it! A crisp, bursting-with-water cucumber, just picked from the vine, on a day so hot and humid that the plants are wilting already at 9 am, a cucumber! Such a simple thing, but we stood there munching, smiling and laughing, and it reminded me that I’m living.
I wish you a weekend of rosy ripe peaches, snap peas, and your very first cucumbers.