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Wrenshall news: Summer has taken hold

This past weekend we planned a pizza party to celebrate many colliding holidays. There were birthdays, Father's Day, and the summer solstice. But the biggest celebration was for the inch of rain that fell on the farm. While we're probably back to irrigating at the end of this week, it was a welcome drink of water for all the organisms that make this acreage home.

One crop that seems unfazed by the unpredictable weather conditions is rhubarb. A healthy fistful of stalks was sent in our first summer CSA delivery, and my son adapted the old adage of making lemonade from lemons and adjusted it for the influx of pink plant matter.

He hosted a rhubarb lemonade stand at the end of our driveway, and I was amazed that he was able to flag down a few folks on County Road 1.

Here is his easy-to-follow recipe, in case his interest in capitalism wanes and he stops operating the stand: Combine 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar and a few stalks, cut up into half-inch pieces on the stove for 20 minutes. Cool and strain the liquid out (and use the leftover mash in your morning oatmeal), then combine the pink syrup at a 3-to-1 ratio with lemon sparkling water.

If you can't get enough of this tart treat, check out the Rhubarb Festival, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. this Saturday at the First United Methodist Church ("the Coppertop church") at 230 E. Skyline Parkway in Duluth, hosted by Churches United in Ministry. Chum is an organization of people of faith and churches working together to provide basic necessities, foster stable lives, and organize for a just and compassionate community.

It's a good reminder that the coming bounty of the farm is not always reflected in our community's access to food, especially in the summer when meals normally delivered through school are not available. There are some options available to Wrenshall and Carlton County residents experiencing food insecurity. There is a searchable index of local food options for kids at http://www.fns.usda.gov/meals4kids. Ruby's Pantry distributes food 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. every fourth Saturday of the month at the Mission Creek Church in the Fond du Lac neighborhood of Duluth. The next event is Saturday, June 26; the donation is $20 per share. The Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank brings its mobile food pantry to Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Cloquet the third Thursday of the month, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. The Cloquet Salvation Army's food shelf is open 4-6 p.m. Mondays and 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tuesdays. There is also produce distribution the second Wednesday of the month, starting at 10:30 a.m., until supplies are gone. Call 879-1693 with any questions about the food shelf.

There are some important dates to get on your calendar. The Wrenshall fire department will sponsor bingo in the park on July 21. This is just one of several "Summer Fun in the Park" events. The Bookmobile will visit Silver Brook Town Hall 11-11:30 .a.m June 28, and the little free library on Pioneer Drive is always open for business.

Brickyard Days will be back for a full weekend of celebration starting Aug. 6. You can still be part of the planning process. Meetings are every other Thursday at 6:30 at Brick's Pub and Grub.

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