I’m always amazed how quickly the seasons shift. The stifling humidity of Summer has relented, giving way to chilly, foggy mornings and shadowy afternoons. Long walks with the pup end at an ever earlier dusk. This week I stocked up on what looks like the last of the local summer crops: red Ruby corn, zucchini and a few tomatoes, before our farm stand closes for the season in a few weeks.
All the while, I’m overwhelmed with the beauty of all the new seasonal produce. Bright, striped, variegated and dimpled gourds of all shapes and sizes. Piles of pumpkins and winter squash. Apples, of course, are making their way into the market in greater varieties and bright, cheery hues. I have not practiced self-control, and oh, do I have a thousand apple desserts on my mind. Classic apple pie, baked the way that my mother perfected. Open-faced, glazed apple tarts. Warm, comforting cider. Even an apple-pie moonshine cocktail is in the works.
Our part of central North Carolina had a disastrous Summer growing season this year, thanks to what felt like daily thunderstorms for the better part of June and July. Our favorite farm and produce stand down the road lost much of their corn crop to flooding, as did many other farmers in the region. Seasonal staples like zucchini were harder to come by locally, even at the grocery store.
Our own garden was thrashed and battered by the rain, and most of our vegetable plants drowned. In August, I admitted defeat, thankful that for us, growing vegetables is only a hobby, and took out the shriveled plants. Only a few sturdy pepper plants and a collection of potted kitchen herbs remained.
A couple of weeks later, a few little volunteer cherry tomato seedlings began peeking out of the leftover soil, and boisterously climbing the remaining tomato cages, with more vigor than their parent plants ever seemed to have. As we enter October, and the night-time temperatures begin to drop dramatically, dew speckling the plants each morning, these brave volunteers continue to grow and produce fruit. I’m hopeful we may actually get some vine-ripened beauties before the cold really sets in. In the meantime, we are the proud parents of some very energetic – albeit confused – cherry tomato plants.
I’ve decided to begin a weekly/weekend round-up of food and lifestyle stories. So without further ado, the following are some links that I found interesting this week:
- Apple season is here! Which means lots of apple desserts. This is a great piece on the science behind baking the perfect apple pie.
- For a frozen version of apple pie, did you catch our apple cinnamon ice cream? Apples + Cinnamon + Ice Cream = Autumnal Heaven.
- I love this personal take on the impact of the recent cuts to federal food assistance programs.
- If this story on contaminated fish from China isn’t motivation to eat locally, I don’t know what is…
- And speaking of seafood, have you checked out The Sustainable Seafood Blog Project yet? We are a founding member of this group of bloggers committed to cooking and eating sustainable seafood.
Next weekend, the Honey and I are headed to Asheville and the edge of the Great Smokey Mountains. I’m looking forward to some great food and beautiful fall color. And if any of you lovelies have any recommendations on where to go/what to do, I would love some suggestions!
Wishing you a wonderful and delicious weekend!