The fires dotting the state, including the Lake Christine Fire that continues to threaten the great town of Basalt in the Roaring Fork Valley, make our hearts ache. This is one parched, sun-blasted summer, and the forecast calls for more of the same. The weather, of course, influences all that we do, every day, on the farm and by extension in the restaurants. Right now, the plants are gulping the water we deliver, and which we will continue to bring to them as they try to beat the heat. But our toil to sustain vegetable life does not compare to what firefighters are doing across Colorado this summer. And our weather-related worries are of a different order than what people across the state face, as fires scorch their forests and threaten their homes. Rain — we need you. Visit soon? Thanks!

Celery thrives at the biodynamic and organic Black Cat Farm in Boulder, Colorado, the most ambitious farm-to-table operation in the United States.

A wilderness of celery and celery root thrives at Black Cat Farm.

Spotlight: English Shelling Peas

It’s always one of the highlights of our growing season, in part because of the memories it invokes. When we began growing food for Black Cat, 10 years ago (gasp), the first steps were of the baby variety. Some herbs. Carrots. And English shelling peas — lots of peas. Our kids were mere youngsters back then, and all of them — from the toddler to the elementary schooler and the rest of them in between — took to fresh English peas like bears to honey. They would hit the pea patches and commence plucking, shelling and devouring.

Yes, English shelling peas are THAT good — even toddlers gobble them like gummy bears.

They are back, and you will find them on restaurant menus and at the Market.

Unlike snap peas, the shells encasing these peas must first be removed before the peas themselves are eaten. You can take the shelled peas directly from hand to mouth (recommended!) but make sure to use them in recipes, too. They make ambrosial soups and sauces, they add sweet punch to things like risotto and pasta, and cooked on their own and eaten by the spoonful might make they eyes roll back in your head.

One classic preparation involves fresh mint, which is widely available in markets.

Fresh Peas with Mint

2 cups fresh peas, removed from pod

2 tablespoons butter

Juice from a quarter of a lemon

salt & pepper to taste

handful of fresh mint, finely chopped (about 2-3 tablespoons)

Blanche the shelled beans in boiling water for about 1-2 minutes. Cool immediately in an ice bath. Melt butter over medium heat. Add peas and cook for about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as lemon juice. Toss in mint and stir.

It’s not ready yet, but it was knee-high on the Fourth of July, which is an important benchmark.

Mmm. Porchetta.

Before you cook the peas, though, you’ll need some. We’ve got you covered! Visit our stands on Saturday for a wild diversity of vegetables and meats, and swing by the prepared food stall for spectacular food.

At the prepared food stand:

Salad bar

Best breakfast sandwich ever

Pork burgers now on The Med Bakery bread

Lamb gyros

Home made falafel

Porchetta plate with red lentils, roasted turnips, sautéed greens, cilantro creme fraiche and chimichurri

At the Market:

Lettuce Mix

Oak leaf lettuce

Arugula

Tat Soi

Purple tat Soi

Osaka Purple

Mizuna

Purslane

Parsley

Cilantro

Brocolli

English Shelling Peas

Favas

Beets

Turnips

Carrots

Onions

Green garlic

Artichokes

Baby Fennel

All Pork Cuts