The summer harvest truly begins with the first handful of beans. From there, everything seems to descend into a kind of delightful, abundant chaos: beans, zucchini, tomatoes, okra… I suddenly find myself scrambling to keep up with the harvesting, never mind the weeding, trellising, and watering.

All spring I repeat like a mantra, “Soon, soon, soon.” And then a handful of beans, and a week or two later, everything.

We’re at the handful-of-beans stage this week, so if you want to taste the firstfruits of summer, come early to the market tomorrow! I also still have chard (it’s called perpetual spinach for a reason!) and the last of the kale, most of which is now more holes than leaves thanks to the pretty but destructive harlequin beetles.

I got a lot of questions about the ‘Perpetual Spinach’ chard last week, so I’ll review it again here. This might just be one of my favorite greens. It is chard, but it has a mild flavor and actually tastes more like spinach. For those, like me, who don’t care for chard, this is a great variety. It can be used raw or cooked, just like spinach, and you can chop up the stems to cook with the leaves, just like chard. The “perpetual” in the name comes from the fact that chard grows from spring until first frost, unlike spinach, which bolts as soon as the summer heat creeps in.

What can you use perpetual spinach in? Anything that calls for chard or spinach! I’ve even put it on pimiento cheese sandwiches. (Jillian’s Farmstead Kitchen, also at the market, has some great pimiento cheese and sourdough bread.)

See you at the market!