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Soak up the summer

IF THERE’S ONE THING WE KNOW HOW TO CELEBRATE IN THE MIDWEST, IT’S SUMMER. HECK, MILWAUKEE NAMED A FESTIVAL AFTER THIS, THE MOST GLORIOUS OF SEASONS.

Summer is fleeting. We spend three months trying to squeeze as much out of it as is humanly possible. We do this knowing full well that, come September, we’ll begin anew the annual nine-month waiting period.

This is what living with four seasons is all about. Ask anyone in California or Florida and they haven’t a clue what you’re talking about, unless maybe they’re a transplant from Wisconsin, or Minnesota, or Illinois. Ask those transplants if they miss it, they’ll probably tell you they don’t. But we know better.

What we in the Midwest lack in year-round warmth and sunshine, we more than make up for with our capacity to anticipate that first day of summer. We never know when it will hit, but we always know what to expect.

Living in the constant sun and warmth is boring; living with four seasons is anything but.

Weather in the Midwest reminds us all, sometimes painfully, that the seasons control us. Try as we might, we can do little to change that directly or instantaneously. Farmers can push the seasons to the edges. Regardless of their talents, fall can come early; winter is always around the corner; and spring, well spring has always been a little fickle.

Nowadays, we’ve forgotten what it is like to go without the fruits and vegetables that once were harbingers of summer around these parts. Sweet corn, watermelon, raspberries, they’re available year-round now.

Unfortunately, as nice as that can be, that availability comes at a cost. Farmers in the warmer parts of our country have been forced to deal with the consequences of global climate change. They do their best to keep us from worrying about it by continuing to make all their produce available, regardless of the challenges — whether it’s a deep freeze in the south or a scorching drought out west.

Around here, a cold spring can decimate an apple crop; too much rain can destroy a field of strawberries; and a drought can ruin a perfectly good tomato. Again, this is what living with four seasons is all about. It teaches us to enjoy and preserve the bounty for those leaner times. It also teaches us to savor.

So, each year we soak up summer’s warmth. We build fires. We keep our grills working overtime. We butter one more ear of sweet corn and we stay outside a little longer each night. We do this knowing that the three months of summer, and all the joy that comes with it, will sustain us for the next nine.

Happy summer!

 

READ THE LATEST ISSUE HERE

In this issue:

Let's Go Glamping!
Gussied up goodies for stargazing

Grilled It!
Pizza on the grill — three ways

Red Barn Family Farms
The secret to good cheese is happy cows

And much more ....

 

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