Height of Summer Update

Purple passionflower.

August is upon us and the year seems to be flying by as summer crop harvests are in full swing and the season of vegetable processing begins. The native bees of this area flock to the garden’s flowers in this time and it is wonderful to see such vigorous pollination activity. Walking up and down the main path you can see the elderberries opening their flowers and the surprising variety and enormous number of insects loading up on pollen.

A small carpenter bee (Ceratina genus) dancing among elderberry flowers.

Part of one day’s harvest in late July. Nearly one hundred pounds of peppers, along with tomatoes, eggplant, hoophouse tomatoes, tomatillos, summer squash, and zucchini. This doesn’t include the cantaloupe, watermelon, outdoor tomatoes, okra, lettuce, chard, arugula, etc.

Our nook of the Ozarks has fortunately been spared from the heatwaves seemingly occurring all over the globe. This, my fourth summer, has been the most mild summer I’ve experienced at East Wind. The gardens still require plenty of watering, but we are far from drought (after my initial posting, garden manager Richard informed me that we are in fact in a moderate drought according to the monitor and that this is one of the hottest summers we’ve experienced… must be the lack of humidity this year that has biased me).

A young Io moth on the door of the hoophouse, what brilliant color!

Katya, Sierra, PT, and Cayli tiling in our soon to be operational showerhouse, dubbed Latherus.

Work on Latherus, our new showerhouse, is steadily reaching the first showers and baths of the year. Above you can see East Winders working on the public shower room. There is also a private shower room as well as a private bathtub room. The tiling and final fixtures are soon to be complete and everyone is excited to use this luxuriously large space.

Food Processing manager Fran periodically turns over the freezers to help reduce waste by making things more accessible for the cooks.

A trove of alliums in our garden shed. This year a new strategy for curing the onions and garlic worked out quite well (last year some number of the storage onions did not cure properly).

The nut butter factory is humming along after a three week break from production and ‘tahini week’ will start by the end of the month. Tahini week is actually a two week span that starts with a truckload of 45,000 pounds of 100% organic sesame seed coming into our loading dock and ends with pallets and pallets of 16oz jars and 15lb tubs of 100% organic tahini resting in our refrigerated warehouse, ready for shipment. We only make tahini twice a year, so it is kind of a big deal.

The height of summer can be a convenient time to travel. I have been a bit discombobulated lately as I’ve traveled for weekend stints away from the farm twice in the past month. One trip to see family in my hometown and another for a music festival. My picture taking has been lackluster, I must admit. I haven’t even gotten pictures of our root cellar or the many food preservation techniques we employ to maintain our garden surpluses into the winter. This will have to do for now.

I’ve been taking lots of film in preparation of a video roll out on YouTube in late fall. The latest documentary on East Wind has been taking off, with over 110,000 views now (much of that in the past month), so I’m feeling the pressure to ride this wave of attention. Clearly the interest in communal living is picking up and that is a wonderful trend to observe first hand. Stay tuned!

Kegs of kombucha have lately become a staple of the walk in. Here the mid July line up is strawberry lime balm, original, and blueberry berry. This is hands down the best kombucha I’ve ever tasted, storebought just seems flaccid to me. Thank you for spoiling us, Shannell!

An alfalfa leaf cutter bee (Megachilidae rotunda) harvesting nectar and pollen from crown vetch, one of their favorite flowers. The bees look like they are using an elliptical machine while pollinating these flowers. Constantly using their legs to work the pollen onto themselves, it is quite entertaining!

A neighbor with good equipment helped us bale our hay this year, thank you! This is a much better harvest than last year when the hayfields were inundated by the flood.

Post and pictures by Sumner


  1. Looks like the perfect way for people to live. People were meant to live together in small communities and did happily until the industrial revolution when our labor became a commodity to be exploited. Are there children?

    • I definitely would not say perfect, but I sure dig it! Right now, we have a newborn and four toddlers as well as one high school age child.

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