We have been having a wonderful summer filled with sunny days, bountiful harvests, and busy farmers’ markets. Sometimes these glorious summer days feel a lot more like a summer daze. Where one day rolls into the next; where there is always lots of work to do but it is just too hot; where you make it a priority to squeeze in fun time with friends and family; where there is an endless harvest of ripe cherry tomatoes, and then before you know it it is time to go to the Saturday market once again.
As a farmer who specializes in tomatoes, I live for summer. The tomato plant needs long sunny days and warm nights to produce delicious tomatoes. So I don’t mind the heat and humidity that come with the summer season. But I’m also human so the long stretch of intense heat and humidity that we have been having the last few weeks was starting to get to me. I’d get up super early to be able to work in the field for a few hours just after sunrise, some days I’d last until noon most days I didn’t make it much past 9am. Then I’d come inside, surround myself with fans and do a bit of computer work before I almost always took a nap. I’d make my way back outside for an hour or so before sunset to do whatever field work I could manage. This is a safe way to prevent oneself from getting heat stroke or other heat related illnesses.
I was talking with a fellow farmer about working in the heat and she commented about how she can’t push herself to stay out in the field like she could when she was younger. My thought was that this may be true, but that is because she is working smarter not harder now. When I was younger I would put my mental blinders on staying out in the field until I finished whatever task I believed I needed to do regardless of the heat. This resulted in me getting dehydrated, sunburned, and not being able to work to my full capacity for a couple days.
So now I check the weather first thing in the morning and set an alarm on my phone to tell me to stop work and come inside because it is too hot. I also carry around a gallon-sized water bottle with time markings on it so I don’t forget to drink water and on extremely hot days I end up drinking more than a gallon of water throughout the day. It is not a perfect system but I find it keeps me safe during those hot and humid days.
The crops have been taking the weather in stride, everyone is looking lush and happy. We have been harvesting a ton of tomatillos and cherry tomatoes. The heirloom tomatoes are really starting to roll in now and they are all finding their way into our pico de gallo. The pepper plants are looking good and we have recently started to harvest the early varieties. Our planting of fall tomatoes and tomatillos are looking healthy considering how hot and dry the weather has been since they were transplanted in mid-July. The sweet potato vines are growing big and wide, so I’m hoping the same is happening with the tubers underground.
It has been so amazing to actually farm where we live this summer and we have been enjoying every single sweaty day of it. There is still over a month of the summer season left so I recommend you relish in it while you can.