Noun – the warmest season of the year.
Summer is the season of abundance. It is the time of greatest growth, and a time where we can fill our plates with fresh and nutritious food. The days are longer, the air is warmer, and somehow it always feels like 2pm, even if it isn’t. Summer gives us the chance to reconnect – most of us go on holiday or take a break from our regular lives and enjoy the lasting sun.
“Green was the silence, wet was the light, the month of June trembled like a butterfly.”Pablo Neruda
What’s in season?
Eating seasonally in summer is glorious. We have natural access to so many fresh fruits and vegetables in the summer, it’s difficult to know how to make the most of it all! Knowing what’s in season in your area is far easier, however. The easiest way to see what’s accessible in each season is to go online and search for ‘seasonal produce’ – you’ll be able to find many different charts and resources. Of course, another easy way of knowing what’s growing is to visit your local farmer’s markets, or to check what’s fruiting in your garden (avid gardeners unite)!
Here’s a quick resource that I like to use: https://www.vegsoc.org/cookery-school/blog/seasonal-uk-grown-produce/
Summer in the garden
My family’s garden in summer is beautiful. The trees are fruiting, the flowers are blooming, and the allotments are overflowing with growth. In this year’s garden we are growing cucumber, heritage tomatoes, carrots, parsnips, peas, beans, potatoes, courgette, squash, sweetcorn, lettuce, spinach, radishes, apples, red currants, black currants, gooseberries, raspberries, and blackberries. We try to make the most of our garden when it comes to growing things, and we spend a lot of weeks in the later summer preserving our surplus (jam is a favourite of ours), so that we can become more elf-sufficient in the colder months to come. I hope that our garden gives you the inspiration to start your own. Starting a garden is a perfect hobby if you want to start living more seasonally – even just growing your own herbs on a windowsill!
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the recipes I’ll be posting using produce from our garden:
- Mint lemonade
- Everyday salad
- Rustic country bread loaf
- Summer sandwiches
- Black currant pie
- Blackberry pancakes
Slow living activities for summer
As busy as the garden gets in this season of abundance, to me, summer is also a time to slow down. Summer is a great opportunity to take a step back from the business of your regular routine, and enjoy something more simply, partaking in slower activities.
“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”William Shakespeare
It’s important to take the time to be mindful and deliberate during the summer, to make the most of the sweetness in this short season. For this reason, I’ve curated a short list of ideas and activities to help you live simply and slowly during the summer, whilst making the most of the sun and warm weather.
Go strawberry picking
Strawberry picking is one of my favourite things about summer. It’s a great opportunity for a day out of the house, without having to plan (be sure to wash the strawberries well before consumption, however, as they can have insects and/or harsh chemicals on them). Strawberries are the fruit of the summer, and there’s nothing better than freshly picked, red strawberries. Handpicking your food is a great way of reconnecting with the Earth – it gives you the chance to slow down and get your fingers grubby, helping you to settle into a greener rhythm.
Visit your local farmers market or fair
Going to the farmers market and the village summer fair is a fond childhood memory of mine. Walking through the different stalls and seeing all of the different colour of summer produce, the lack of plastic and wasteful packaging, it’s a wonderful experience. You can take your time strolling up and down, knowing that the produce in front of you has come from nearby and from small local farms (because supporting small business is an important part of simple living). In addition to all of this, you can almost guarantee that what you’re purchasing is in season!
Forget your shoes
When was the last time you walked through the grass barefoot? What a simply joy it is to feel the Earth between your toes! The grounding practice of walking barefoot is a really great way to align yourself with nature once again. If children can run around in the garden with no shoes on, why can’t you? There’s no judgement here… go for it! I do, and it’s one of my favourite things about summer – who cares if you need to wash your feet afterwards?!
Preserve what you grow
Another fond childhood memory of mine is making strawberry jam with my grandma. We went to the fruit fields and picked buckets of strawberries and went home and make jars upon jars of fresh jam, and it was the best jam in the world. As well as making jams, you can dry, freeze, or pickle your surplus. My mum makes the best pickled beetroot, so we can enjoy the whimsy of purple vegetables all year round. At the end of the summer, we often ponder whether we need to by a new freezer as our other one is just so chock-a-block with frozen fruits and vegetables, saved up for the colder months.
Make the most of the sun
The height of the day can be very hot and bright, but that doesn’t mean we can’t spend the mornings and evenings outside! Summer sunrises and sunsets are some of the most beautiful. A great way to start the day, if you’re into adventures, is to wake up really early one morning, venture to a nearby hilltop, and watch the sunrise. Or calm your mind at the end of the day with a walk through the fields in the evening (I’m a countryside girl). The simple act of going outside, enjoying the last of the day’s light, and relishing in the cooler air, is a peaceful and really simple way of enjoying the summer.
Books are available to us throughout all of the seasons. Literature loves a long and hot summer, both in its contents and because of when we choose to read it. I like to pick a book that’s set in the summer, to really feel connected to the season – give it a chance and you may feel the same way. The book I’m currently reading, although not related to the summer, is Pachinko by Lee Min Jin and I recommend it as a great way to spend time inside during the hottest parts of the day (it’s an eye-opening page turner).
Summer at Rhythm and Green
As I draw to the end of this season’s newsletter, I want to thank you for taking the time to enjoy the summer with me. Summer really is the season of abundance, and it’s important that we look after ourselves in these months of growth and warmth. I want to remind you to drink plenty of water, get plenty of rest, and I encourage you to make the most of what’s in season this summer. I hope that you take something from this article, whether it be inspiration, a quote, or an activity.
I am spending my summer writing about:
- Summer in the kitchen
- Sustainability in summer
- Holidaying at home
- Conscious consumerism
- On the bookshelf
Stick around the find out more, and I hope to hear from you soon!
I hope you celebrate the summer gloriously, and I wish you a safe and fruitful season ahead.