Saturday, October 28, 2006

End of the Harvest

October is drawing to a close, and you could feel winter hard on its heels in the frosty air this morning, underlining one sad but undeniable fact: this year's growing season is also coming to an end.

Few people were out early this morning, braving the chilly dawn to visit the farmers' market. Of all my favorite growers, only the Amish folks and the Cheerful Lady (plus one son) were out with their tables laden with the last produce of the year. Surprisingly, the Sheep Lady also showed up for one last round at the market, so I was able to stock up on parsnips again.

The Cheerful Lady had little left save for garlic, potatoes, and other long-term-storage items, but you know me... I can't get enough garlic or potatoes, so I bought more of those along with a jar of honey and a couple cookies. (The garlic, of course, had to replenish my range-side stash.)

The Amish folks had a wider range of produce, so I was able to fill in the green and orange blanks with them: broccoli, celery, parsley, acorn squash, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes. Surprisingly, I didn't see any beets out on their table, so I didn't get those as I had planned.

A lengthy discussion with the Cheerful Lady revealed that though the farmers' market wouldn't start up again until June, she would probably have produce beginning in early May (greens and asparagus), and she invited me to call her next spring to get some of those early goodies. (You know I don't need to be asked twice on something like that!)

It's a little depressing to see the end of the growing season and the farmers' market for the year, even though I know the farmers need their time to rest and prepare for next year, too. I'm glad I've stocked up on a lot of good things, and I hope I can make it further into the winter this year before I need to buy vegetables at the grocery store.

For those of you whose farmers' markets or CSAs last a little longer, I envy you! But I also hope you will have plenty of good local produce to carry you into winter as well.

For the rest of us, we'll just have to be patient and wait for next year!


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