Purple Times are Here Again

Aug 19th 002 (640x480)

Light and dark pink cosmos in the front yard.

Our dry spell has broken, and so has the heat! We were getting pretty tired of running the irrigation day and night, so we welcomed the storms that blew through Harvard last night and the night before. It was a bit of a rush to get things harvested and washed last night before the rain started, but we managed to get everything under cover before the wind really picked up. Ray was very helpful and honked the truck horn many times as we gathered tomatoes.

As we were washing the last of the zucchini, we looked up to see a sky filled with dragonflies. They have been coming out in droves recently to feed on mosquitoes and other small flies. Aug 19th 010 (640x480)They zip around like bi-planes and stop short when they intersect a tasty morsel. One of them landed on the kitchen window screen last night, and we were able to get a closer look. They look like ornate, miniature flying machines, made out of precious stones and metal. I am willing to concede that it is worthwhile to have mosquitoes around to serve as prey for the dragonflies – and that is saying quite a lot.

The field is full of pretty purple vegetables this week – beets, cabbage, eggplant, and onions. Aug 19th 008 (480x640)A number of edible plant families include members that produce beautiful pigments, from blue-purple blueberries to vibrant eggplant to royal-looking plums. Purple-tinged plants contain pigments called anthocyanins that harvest light from a different end of the light spectrum than the more ubiquitous pigment chlorophyll. Plants are amazing – they don’t miss a trick when it comes to utilizing all that free solar energy.  While anthocyanins are present in most plants, some species have more than others, which accounts for the beautiful range of hues you see at the farmers market.

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