The Time of Perfect Young Summer

“What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promises of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.”                                                                                              Gertrude Jekyll, renowned British horticulturist, pioneering garden designer, painter & writer 

As we approach the summer solstice on June 20th, the warmer weather wafts through our psyche and gently floats us to a place of sensual serenity- that place where the early morning sun sparkles on the dewdrops clinging to velvety rose petals.  It also brings on the biting insects and arachnids (mites, ticks and spiders), poison ivy and sunburn. While insects and arachnids are essential components in Mother Nature’s web of life, we all wish that humans were not a featured menu item for their meal choices. These invertebrates can also act as vectors in the spread serious diseases, including Lyme disease. New England is ground zero when it comes to Lyme disease with all six states ranking within the top 15 states in the country for incidences of Lyme. Massachusetts is number two, trailing Pennsylvania with New York, New Jersey and Connecticut rounding out the top five. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 300,000 people will contract Lyme disease this year. Black legged ticks, also called deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) are the primary carrier in our neck of the woods. These tiny arachnids carry the bacterial spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi which is the pathogen responsible for Lyme disease. When a deer tick lands on a person it will often crawl about unnoticed as it searches for a protein-rich blood meal. The B.d. spirochetes present in the tick’s saliva enter the bloodstream and the initiation of the disease is under way. The first line of defense in combating Lyme disease is to make yourself less appetizing to the ticks. Herbal Armor by the All Terrain Co. is a DEET-free product that not only repels ticks but also deters pesky mosquitoes, black flies and no-see-ums. It is more potent than other herbal formulations, containing 26% of active oils known for their repellent properties.

Father’s Day is a much more informal, low-key affair than the special day we have for moms. A sizzling BBQ with burgers, dogs, sausages and /or steak is just the thing. Living Earth has the goods that are good- no hormones, antibiotics or growth stimulants. Natural hardwood charcoal gets things started and a cold craft beer whets the appetite. A Red Sox game blaring in the background punctuates the holiday. Vegan dads have lots of options too with grill-friendly fare that inveterate carnivores will also enjoy.

Local Greenery- Fresh organic lettuce, spinach, kale and chard will be available this month from Many Hands Organic Farm. The only greens fresher would be ones you picked from your own garden. They are harvested and delivered to us on the same day. This marks our 31st year partnering with Many Hands and thanks to your patronage, we sustain a viable model for supporting organic agriculture in Ma.

GMO Labeling Lunch-In On June 8th from 12-1 pm there will be a lunch-in at the Ma. State House to advocate for the passing of a GMO labeling bill. Time is running out as we only have until July 31st to get our state legislature to vote on this critical issue. See marighttoknow.org for more information.

The Family Tree Holds the Key On May 3rd Al and Maggy Maykel were presented with a Key to the City of Worcester at the City Council meeting in honor of their 45 years of diligence and dedication in providing Worcester County with the finest organic and natural products. Mayor Joseph Petty and District 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera gave speeches on their behalf and Al thanked the people of Worcester for their support over the years and also paid homage to his late father, Judge Albert E. Maykel , who had also been a recipient of this prestigious award.

The Great Bearded One is tying the knot. (I just hope he knows how to knot his tie.) Joseph Haringa and his long time sweetheart Heather Berkowitz are getting married on June 11. Congratulations and best wishes to them on their special day. In lieu of scented beard oil, an extra hoppy IPA will do just fine!