July was the hottest month ever in southern Ontario, with July 21st in Toronto the hottest day on record there. And with thirty hours more sunshine than normal in this month, which means also a very dry month here.
But it is amazing how things grow in this hot and humid weather. We have never had tomato plants so eager to produce fruit. Both plants are loaded.
What is really stunning is going out the door when the thermometer says 21 degrees, but it feels like 30. The humidity can make that much difference.
One of the lovely things about living in an agricultural region like this is the fresh fruit and vegetables. Watermelon is now available locally from the Amish. The sweet corn has been producing for about four weeks now, and it is fabulous. We love Mangos — not grown here but very nice right now, and there are more varieties of mango here than I am used to. The Mennonite connection must be leveraging the relationships in Mexico.
We are mostly buying our own bread, but we did find a nice multigrain flour mixture that makes great bread. Nothing can compare to fresh bread and fresh butter of course! The texture, the smell, the taste.. put this beside some fresh fried eggs on a plate with a piece of fresh fruit at around 7:30 AM on a summer morning — beautiful!
There are beekeepers just up the road, so the honey is local. Talk about a a renewable resource! It was fun watching my dad harvest honey from the single hive he still maintains.
Summer is the time for local raspberries and blueberries. These are the stuff of sauces for pancakes and freezer jam for toast. We leverage our berries for sauce for cheesecake also – I like the heavy “New York” style. We can also get local cheese and organic chicken. Oddly, cheese is about 30% less costly than in BC, but milk is 50% more expensive. We don’t use a lot of it other than for some recipes.
WE get farm fresh eggs from friends. Did you know that the eggs you purchase in the local department store average about eight weeks old when they get to the store? That was a bit of a shock. Of course buying local, home grown also means avoiding some of the anti-biotics and the hormones fed to chickens.
Put this all together and summer is a celebration of food and fruitfulness. I’m working my way through Murray Pura’s book, “The Five Gardens of God,” so it’s fun to reflect on fruitfulness and joy through a theological lens. Murray is a friend who pastors in Canmore in southern Alberta.
“In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you
with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.”
James 1:21, The Message