Saturday, September 03, 2005

Harvest Boon

Here we are in September already, with the evening extinguishing the sun's light sooner and sooner each night, and the crickets reverberating with the reminder to play and enjoy the warmth while it lasts.

The return of September also indicates that the days of this year's farmers' market are numbered -- only six or seven more Saturdays left in the schedule -- and therefore it's time to gather in as much produce as possible for the last frenzied rounds of preserving as well as for fresh dinners.

On today's trip down to the market, I crammed my backpack so full of food that I had to carry an added bag along with it. (And I didn't even find any potatoes, as I had hoped!)

I revisited the gentleman farmer in the hopes of finding more of the tiny eggplant that had so enchanted me last week. Indeed, he did, and I walked away with two quarts of those little beauties in order to make more baingan bhartha -- or maybe a stew.

I stopped to see the wool lady, not out of desire for a fuzzy hat but because she had bags of small tender carrots. Some may end up in my lunches this next week -- and some might get canned or frozen.

From the cheerful lady with the organic farm, I bought more onions (a mixed bag of red and yellow ones of varying sizes) and garlic, and I also picked up a bag of basil for making more pesto.

From the other organic farm stand, I brought home a zucchini, more okra (they've gotten to know me well!), and some tomatoes. I know -- since I already have tomatoes of my own, why buy more? But mine aren't ripening fast enough for me to pick and can several at once, which I want to do this weekend, so I thought I'd get more. Besides, this farm family won't be at the market next week (off to an herb fair north of town), and they may be done with their crops by the following week, so I thought I should support them while I could.

Finally, I bought small bags of locally-ground and -milled whole wheat flour and oats since I know I'll need those in fall baking.

But that's not all! Later in the morning my Dear Papa drove me to a local orchard so that I could get a peck of Early Gold apples for making applesauce, as well as a small basket of Bartlett pears for canning and heaven knows what else.

I love harvest time -- there's so much good food!

And with a long weekend, I can do something about it.

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