Mid-summer is certainly a time to feast. The gardens are now yielding daily installments of the freshest produce. A couple of weeks ago we cooked the last usable potatoes from last year’s garden: shriveled, sprouted shadows of their former greatness. We then began to probe and dig around our blooming red potato plants and come up with the light, crisp, new potatoes that taste like the bright sun, clean water, and sweet soil that grow them.
Now the fresh new potatoes are abundant and a fork stuck into the soil yields good numbers of the tasty gems. It’s pretty hard to not prepare them in a tasty fashion. They are great sautéed with onions and herbs for breakfast. Boiled and steamed with butter and other fresh veggies, or grilled with olive oil and herbs all are tasty and healthy ways to prepare them. In addition to the fresh new potatoes, there are new onions, leaf lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, yellow summer squash, kale, collards, basil, and garlic; basically all the ingredients to wonderful summer meals. Last night a freshly caught pike, stuffed with veggies and oven baked was paired with sautéed summer squash and became a fine summer delight.
As is usual this time of year, thundershowers creep across the prairie in their random fashion, giving some folks a good soaking and others little more than a distant light show. Our rainfall has been adequate so far, but not excessive and the hot ninety degree temperatures have caused the corn to grow inches each day and the runners on the melon vines to reach out farther into the rows, seemingly attempting to grasp all the neighboring plants.
We are in the middle of a miracle, as long summer days have coaxed the bare soil of just a couple of months ago to now stand tall with abundant food; and more to come as we look forward to tomatoes, melons, and sweet corn. Just as the baby waterfowl and pheasants gorge themselves on summer’s abundance, ready to fly in just days after hatching, we too must pounce upon the fatness of the season and store some food for the winter, canning, freezing, and in other ways preserving the life of summer.