Suddenly, as if a switch were thrown, our nonexistent spring turned into a scorching summer! The gardens are visibly displaying the relief felt by all as they stretch and green in the sunshine. With garlic scapes on our dinner plates, bulbs have all the energy needed to ripen and harvest, clearing more room in the garden to play and plant. Your bundle of garlic scapes, the flowers of the hardneck garlic plant, taste like garlicky green beans when lightly steamed or sauted in sesame oil or butter. These are an early summer delight that I never knew before working on a farm in British Columbia years ago. They have been a favorite of mine ever since, so it is very exciting to share these with you during my first year of growing garlic.
    This can be a difficult time to think about autumn and winter gardens with tomato and cucumber salads in our near future, but plans start now for crop rotations and veggies that will brave the winter in your home gardens. As plants are harvested and moved out, fresh seedlings are sprouting in the greenhouse, ready to move into that soil and strengthen in the late summer sun before overwintering. Winter gardens are a great time to experiment with crops you have not grown before, such as the wide variety of Asian cabbages and cardoon. You may be pleasantly surprised to see how many of your family's favorites overwinter here in the Pacific Northwest: kale and Brussels sprouts actually sweeten after a frost. Peas may be planted through July for a fall harvest, and are great at fixing nitrogen back into the soil after heavy feeders such as cabbage and kohl rabi.
    The tabletops farm is burbling and sprouting with all the fervor of the season, as well. I am always experimenting with kombucha in different teas and infusions, and so you have one jar of organic green tea and one of organic black tea elixir. The green tea batch seemed a little sweet for my tastes, and if you share this opinion, you can leave the jar at room temperature to continue the fermentation process. Of course, there is always the option to drink it as is, refrigerate for later, or use the brew to culture a batch in your very own, kitchen! Alfalfa sprouts also have optional homework: they may be refrigerated and enjoyed in salads or sandwiches, or left in their container on the counter and rinsed three times a day to continue sprouting and invite more living food into your meals.
    As the seasons change so does life on the farm. Chickens are great garden companions, and their eggs and meat are great additions to our meals. Just as the demand for attention is shifted to tending and irrigating the gardens, the shear number of chickens that have been under our care has lessened. Now that the freezer is full of broilers, our laying flock has more room and time to range. Our buff Orpington, light Brahma, and Jersey giant chicks can be identified as pullets (future layers) and cockerels (future roosters, or dinners). Whether from our coop or your own backyard, healthy meat and happy eggs are a part of life that I hope more and more people will become accustomed to.
    I am thankful for the hardy greens that have flourished in the gray rain of this unseasonably cool spring, and as I walk through the gardens to see little green tomatoes and the first peas I feel assured that summer is finally upon us. Potato cages are reaching for the sky, dill flowers are spreading wide, and cabbages are beginning to take shape. More varieties of the freshest foods are on the way soon! Our patience will pay off in nutritious and delicious garden bounty, after all.
    Eat, drink, and be merry.