It’s that time of the year when things in the local foods world feel in flux. Harvests are still strong, but we are firmly transitioning to late fall and winter crops. The last of the summer markets are coming to an end and summer CSA pick up days are numbered on just a few fingers.
There’s a lot to look forward to. In less than one short month (!) we will all be reunited at the winter farmers’ markets for that fateful last Saturday before our day of National gluttony. For now, though, just for one short moment- it feels like we may all take in a deep breath together while we note the changing of the food seasons.
I’ve decided to take this time to indulge in my own personal bounty. Summer and fall were busy. Sometimes food can feel like a real chore, I will admit. It was all I could do to can yet another jar of pickles or to make time to core and chop yet another quart of green tomatoes. Don’t get me started on the trials and tribulations of my first year of beekeeping or the summer adventures of everyone’s favorite chickens; Henny, Penny, Jenny and Louise. Sometimes I wondered to myself- what is it all even for!?
It’s for now (and for later too). The canning and freezing are mercifully on pause. The hens are molting. The bees have stopped laying brood. All but the kale and brussels sprouts are long gone in the garden. Weekly trips to market and to CSA pickup locations have fallen off with the calendar days. It’s time to fire up the wood stove, watch the leaves fall and enjoy the fruits (literally!) of a long season of work.
For the first 19 days of November, I am shopping my pantry for all but the absolute necessities.
There are a couple of whole chickens in the freezer looking for a purpose, alongside the pork chops I bought when Diamond B Farm had a ‘clear the freezer’ sale. The quarts on quarts of cherry tomatoes I dried or canned or froze will make a delicious ‘pasta’ with the spaghetti squash I picked up on a whim and the garlic I harvested in the dog days of summer. A summer corn chowder will warm me up in the chilly days of fall and I’ll snack galore by the wood stove– on green tomato relish, on dill pickles, on caramelized onion dip and dehydrated kale and apple slices.
Money saved can be put away for Christmas gifts and celebrations. Or, more likely, for a few splurges at the first winter farmers’ market.