First Tomato

Lake Macbride Beach

Lake Macbride Beach

LAKE MACBRIDE— The first two cherry tomatoes were ripe in the garden, so I picked them, along with three meals worth of green beans, two cucumbers, a bunch of kale, two stalks of broccoli and two kohlrabi. In addition, I planted more cucumbers and Swiss chard. There remains plenty to eat in our household.

It’s time to review the seed packets and plan the rest of the year’s planting. July 25 is the traditional day to plant fall turnips, and more radishes, green beans, cucumbers and spinach are in the works. The lettuce seedlings I planted about a week ago appear to be taking, and I’ll plant more before the summer is over. Because of succession planting, the salad days, where we can have fresh salads with dinner, may extend the whole summer. Here’s hoping.

When the morning garden work was finished, I cleaned up and drove to Lake Macbride State Park to sit on a bench and write. On an impulse, I stopped by a friend’s home where he was returning from a neighbor’s home with a bucket of just-picked Lodi apples. Lodi is one of the earliest producing cultivars, and the fruit is used in baking, applesauce and cider making. He offered and I took four to make a dessert. We chatted for a while, and then made arrangements to go foraging for black raspberries after supper.

Black Raspberries

Black Raspberries

With the sun heading for the horizon, we met up and drove a few miles to a mutual friend’s acreage. We spent about 90 minutes trolling the wood line, where all kinds of produce was evident. Wild plums, hickory nuts, blackberries not ripe yet, and plenty of ripe black raspberries. We filled two gallon jugs and split the proceeds.

We toured the property owner’s garden and the apricots were ripe, falling from the tree. Like many gardens in the area, this year it is doing well.

On the drive home, we talked about the Michigan cherries due in at a local orchard on Saturday. I plan to stop by and participate in the summer cycle of fresh produce and the social life surrounding it. Not sure which I like better, and both seem inextricably intertwined.

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