I haven’t given June a fair shake. I am seriously considering reclassifying this month from “just okay,” to “favorite.”
It was ushered in by one of my favorite life forms: poppies. Now, mid-month, I see another beauty in wild abundance: the roadside sweat pea. Just when you are wedged in hopeless traffic on an uninspiring stretch of road, you look out your window with a baleful expression and…there they are. They say to you, “Beauty is all around you, try not to be an a-hole.” Clearly, I need to remove these 30 days from probation.
The Northwest’s gorgeous, glossy strawberries are burgeoning. Due to the mild winter, raspberries, and even blueberries – a late July crop – have started ripening as well. June gloom is nowhere in evidence, and I don’t miss it. I have nearly frozen to death in fleece during previous Junes. And the waiting, waiting for school to get out, the telling, retelling of just exactly how many days are left to the school year…it lost its magic for me long ago.
But this year the whole place is busting out with green, juicy life. I would like to turn my entire yard into a smoothie. I am, as ever, not much of a gardener. The slugs munch leisurely on my strawberries, the deer pluck off each delicate persimmon bud, the worms bore their cozy way into the radishes. But still, new life, Eaters! So hopeful!
This is a food blog, so it’s about time I talked about the farmer’s market. I don’t go there often because I get overwhelmed by so much handmade soap. But I love the bunches of freshly pulled carrots, the wholesome radish sprouts and piles of shiny sugar peas. Calliope Farm uses peas as a winter cover crop and harvests them before they form pods. This month, they are offering bunches of the delicate shoots and tendrils. I wanted to try pea shoots, since I have always had a fondness for what some refer to as rabbit food, but the ones in my own garden proved too fibrous (try gnawing a shoelace).
Calliope’s were tender, green, heaven. I ate the entire bag at dinner that night and for a moment, and not for the first time, wished I was a rabbit. I know, I read Watership Down and realize their lives are fraught with stress. They are hopping entrees for any carnivorous passersby and hence, very skittish. But the clover they get to munch! The succulent grasses! Oh to be a bunny!
What to cook this month? Try not to. In June, everything is best eaten straight off the vine. Obviously, by late July there will be absolutely nothing left but wormy radishes because all the harvests are early. I suggest you get to know your freezer so you have something laid by.
I found two more reasons to love June: the hills above Lake Chelan haven’t turned brown yet,
and, in fair weather, it’s the kick-off to three months of George Washington hair.