This month, I wanted to do something more in line with a saijiki such as William J. Higginson’s Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac. While in many posts I’ve been listing all the seasons in sections, this time, I want to just focus on summer food kigo. Summer is one of the peak times for produce, and that really comes through in the haiku I’ve collected so far.
All. Depending on where you live, tomatoes can start fruiting as early as May (early summer in the Lunar calendar, late spring in the Gregorian calendar) and last until October. Heirloom or conventional, green or red, tomatoes are a staple summer food.
tomato plantChrista Pandey, Haiku Pea Podcast, Series 5, Episode 6
green on green
at summer’s endKathleen Tice, [poetry pea]
green tomatoes . . .
heating the frying pan
Mid-Late. Berry brambles tend to start fruiting in June, and depending on the berry and geography, peak in July or August. If you’re trying to forage for wild berries, you have to check caches regularly. It’s a waiting game, but once they’re finally ready to harvest, the season seems all too fleeting. When foraging for wild berries in Illinois, my partner and I have occasionally missed the peak harvest by a matter of days.
our talk of the patriarchyMary Stevens, Kingfisher 3
a buck strips a bush
of its berries
ripe berries . . .Kim Klugh, Haiku Pea Podcast, Series 5, Episode 6
of her fingertips
going backBrad Bennett, Haiku Pea Podcast, Series 5, Episode 6
for more blueberries
First strawberriesAnna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo, Haiku Pea Podcast, Series 5, Episode 10
Like the first time
Peaches. Mid-Late. Depending on location, peach trees usually start to fruit in June, and can last until October. They’re a popular summer dessert, whether fresh with cream, or baked into a pie. While the state of Georgia (USA) is one of the most best-known places for peaches, Illinois, Missouri, and Texas also have excellent varieties.
slicing a peach . . .Jason Furtak, Haiku Pea Podcast, Series 5, Episode 6
the color of
my cancer ribbon
Cherries. All. Different varieties of cherries connote different parts of the summer season. Sweet cherries tend to fruit from May to August, while tart cherries often don’t make their appearance until June. They’re another fruit that does well as a dessert, enjoyed either fresh or baked into a pie.
black cherry dewdrop full of skyCraig Kittner, Haiku Pea Podcast, Series 5, Episode 6
from the same treeZrinko Šimunić, Haikuniverse, June 15th, 2022
my wife and sparrow
Mango. All. Due to globalization, fresh mangos are often available in grocery stores year-round. The first time I ever encountered a mango was at a grocery store in Austin, in the middle of February . . . and they were on special. However, in their actual climate, mangoes fruit as early as May and usually last until August.
first bite of mangoRick Daddario, Charlotte DiGregorio’s Writer’s Blog, May 11, 2022
summer flowing down
eating sticky riceLouise Hopewell, Failed Haiku #76
Basil. All. Basil is a popular herb to enjoy in the summer. It pairs nicely with the aforementioned tomatoes as part of a Caprese salad or bruschetta for a light summer meal. As it moves toward the transition stage of its life cycle, it starts to produce flowers, which need to be pinched back if you want to keep harvesting the leaves.
basil blossomsEufemia Griffo, Seashores, November 2021
a door closes
Melon. All. As with much of the other produce mentioned here, when specific melons are in season depends on variety and geography (not to mention climate change). However, in general, a melon can be ready to harvest as early as May, and the season last through the summer into September. Watermelon is popular at summer picnics, wrapped in proscuitto as part of an antipasto spread, or blended into an agua fresca.
even hereJoshua Gage, Haiku Pea Podcast, Series 5, Episode 6
battered by red dust
the melon’s coolness
Mushrooms. All. Realistically, it might be better to list mushrooms as an all-year word, and use specialized names to denote the season, as mushrooms have a wide growing season, depending on variety. I initially placed mushrooms in summer because of the abundance of porcini, chicken of the woods, and chanterelle mushrooms John and I harvest in July and August. However, morels are in season in mid-late spring, and many Japanese varieties are at their best in the fall. What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!
carved namesDeborah P. Kolodji, Haiku Pea Podcast, Series 5, Episode 10
in a city tree
Wild grapes. Late. Like mushrooms, wild grapes might better be considered a multi-season kigo, with specific varieties use to specify the season. I initially chose late summer based on my own memories of seeing wild grapes fruiting and being eaten later in the summer on bird counts with the Travis Audubon Society. However, there are also varieties of grapes, both wild and domestic, that come into season during fall and winter. Again, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!
between the birds and meDavid Oates, Haiku Pea Podcast, Series 5, Episode 10
the wild-grape hulls
Zucchini. Mid-Late. Zucchini usually comes into season in June, and can fruit well into August. It’s known for being particularly abundant with relatively little effort, with households sometimes struggling to use it all up or give it away to neighbors. Zucchini bread is a popular way to use excess crop.
zucchiniLillian Nakamura, Stratified Layers: Haiku Canada Members’ Anthology, 2022
hidden in the foliage
Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this format and would like to see more of it! In addition, if you know of someone who could help me with sound editing problems for the August 2nd podcast episode, please let me know!