Monday, October 12, 2009

Bounty 2.0

I've always considered the pleasures of the farmers market to follow an arc of sorts...a gentle hill if you will. After the scarcity of winter the spring brings, slowly, a limited selection of tender vegetables like ramps, french breakfast radishes, fava beans, peas and asparagus. The fruit is much more reticent, and until June I must make do with stalks of rhubarb (not a true fruit I realize), which I wrestle into submission by making a bracing breakfast compote.

As the season marches on the colors become more brilliant and the selection more varied. The strawberries come, followed by cucumbers, swiss chard and summer squash, and then the avalanche begins. My beloved cherries, sweet and sour, make their brief but exquisite appearance, fragrant peaches come tumbling in (as do the resultant peach crisps and cobblers I end up making when I over-estimate my weekly peach eating capability), blueberries, raspberries, beets. And then, when the heirloom tomatoes and the corn begin to come in, I know the zenith of the season has hit. And I've always assumed that everything after that point is largely downhill until the following spring.

However, this past weekend I realized that I should not be so quick to judge. Rather, we are, as I speak, in a secondary produce peak. Gorgeous apples at Locust Grove are now abundant, autumnal squashes are piled all around the square, plums are tempting me to make tarts and I even spotted the first quince of the season! Placed out in a bowl, these odd fuzzy fruits will gently perfume your home with their sweet floral scent. And if you are ambitious, cooked (please dear god do not attempt to eat them raw), they are a delightful alternative to apples and pears.

But perhaps most exciting of all, the unparalleled James Durr has regained its footing after a brief dry spell with lots of fabulous floral specimens. How does he know that I love those pale green and rust colored hydrangeas so much?

I cannot stand the blue ones, the white I can take or leave, but oh the green...I could not resist them for my bathroom sink.

And I was so swept away by the boughs of purple berries (I cannot even begin to guess what they are), I took a massive bunch home, oblivious to the space constraints of my apartment.

So now I have an arrangement that approximates a small tree sitting on my table. It is wonderfully wild and sprawling, but also makes it a tad difficult to walk into my kitchen and into the living room (not that these are actually separate rooms in my apartment but, well, I like to pretend). As Paul says, it's ridiculous, but also lovely.


Jane said...

I love those purple boughs and who cares if they take up the Whole Room! and also the hydrangeas I prefer the green ones too. They look more natural. Lovely pics. xoxo

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Laura...lovely post..So beautifully written ... I really enjoyed it...all of the things that I LOVE in my life...Beautiful seasonal food.... Wonderful.....

Out here on The Central Coast of California we are waiting for a BIG STORM to slam in from the Pacific Ocean....had to take down some of my Halloween decorations...VERY STORMY !!!

More later,

Laura in Paris said...

I ahve a friend who has a house in Normandy and she has tons of hydrangeas: blue, purple, pink (deep and light). When I visit her, she gives my a bunch that I dry upside down and keep in muy house throughout the winter. It makes beautiful bouquets - and they are natural, not silk!

Laura [What I Like] said...

Jane - Yes, you are right...I should just accept the tree in the room for what it is.

My Farmhouse Kitchen - I've heard that the storms are parents are dreading what they consider to be the start of winter...

Laura in Paris - I love the idea of tons of hydrangeas in Normandy!

Millie said...

Lovely post Laura - it is exciting to see how as each season progresses, the fruit & vegies change & sets our minds abuzz with new ideas. I love quinces too, the aroma of them poaching slowly on the stovetop in a little sugar syrup is one of life's great treats. MOTH loves a Quince & Rhubarb Crumble or a Cobbler with lashing of Creme Anglaise &/or Clotted Cream. I always toss in a couple of big strips of lemon peel to add some zing to the poached fruit. Enjoy your Fall eating.
Millie ^_^

Jake Durr said...

The boughs of purple berries are called Callicarpa.

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