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June 23, 2013
Reinbeck Courier

On June 21, summer officially arrives and it is also the longest day of the year. A wonderful time, even though now the days get shorter; some people call them, "Those lazy, hazy days." That may be, but it also is a busy time. It is time when weeds seem to grow overnight and I have a grandson that helps out with that. We have had enough rain for awhile, in fact in some places too much, but now I believe it is going to settle down to a more settled pattern. Now I hope we can settle down and watch the crops grow.

We all know that is the time for growing. Farmer's markets offer us a pleasant summer vacation from the supermarkets and from our own gardens. However, do you know how to get the best buy? Here are some tips put out by the extension service to help us out:

* Corn on the cob should have crisp green husks and bright, plumb milky kernels

* Snap beans should be crisp, not limp, and uniform in shape. They should be immature, that is seeds should not have developed enough to make pods bulge.

* Beets should be small, smooth - textured and firm.

* Tomatoes should be plump and firm, bruise free, uniformly shaped and bright red - avoid any that have wrinkled skin.

One of my most difficult decisions is to pick out a good musk melon or cantaloupe. This is the extension's advice.

* Cantaloupe should have a smooth stem end, a sign that the melon was ripe when it was picked and slipped easily off the stem. Smell the melon. A pleasant odor indicates good flavor.

Cantaloupes DON'T ripen after they are picked. Also avoid melons that are soft or starting to split around the stem end.

* Peaches should have a background color with a golden cast under the reddish blush. This is a sign that the peach is ripe.

* Apples should be colorful, uniform and bruise - free. Just picked is best.

* Watermelon should have a smooth slightly dull skin.

Fresh vegetables and fruits are one of the joys of summer.


3/4 cup sugar

2/3 cup white vinegar

1/3 cup oil

1 teaspoon salt

Mix well, add sliced zucchini, green pepper, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower or other fresh garden vegetables. Let set for several hours,

"Nature knows no difference between weeds and flowers."-Mason Cooley



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