Sunday, October 3, 2010
Ode to the End of Summer Market
There is that moment when the warm of summer begins to be tinged slightly with an edge of crispness. Walking down the sidewalk, you start to question if you saw that right. Wait was there one jaunty yellow leaf peaking out of a fully green tree. No, it’s still summer, you reassure yourself. Summer hasn’t just passed you by, you promise yourself. Fall is well in the distance, you start thinking. After all, your toes are freely traveling in flip flops; your skin is still tan; the rain still smells warm. You forget about this whole thing and keep walking. Then crunch, a brown leaf sticks to underside of your summer shoes. Fall is arriving—in the active tense. It’s a janus moment, fall at the front, summer at your back.
At the market, the last of the summer melons sit almost anachronistically beside winter squash. Tomatoes, those summer jewels, elicit in you equal parts joy for the wealth of summer and melancholy for the bareness of winter. You caress the soft, satiny skin; enjoying it summer bareness. You walk down the farmer’s market allee surveying not just the wares, but the end of the season, the joy of the moment. You look into the face of the farmer’s that you have come to count on over the summer (over the years.) You linger over the radishes reveling in this Easter-bonnet happiness. You chew on beans, raw and redolent of the earth. Then you spend a few minutes coveting, fondling the heirloom pumpkin, tapping on its hard skin you mindlessly pull at your cardigan. As you leave the market, you revel in the mental snapshots of summer, of the farmers, of the food, that you have preserved to hold you through until spring.
Standing in your kitchen, you hesitate over the vegetables. After all, when that last tomato is gone, summer is too. Steeled by anticipation and a little guilt about wasting such loveliness, you set to. You slice into the flesh of a squash, and smell in its fall earthiness. You tear into basil and remember the laughter of running through wet grass. You try to do those farmer’s proud, showcase the truth of those vegetables. Your guests bite into your food and feel the changing of the season.
Menu in Celebration of My Farmer's Market at the Change of the Season:
Rice, miso-lemongrass corn chowder, and red pepper sashimi
Raw tomato raviolo with Almond Cheese in broth
Broiled Hungarian finger food with pickled radishes, pickled beets and crisp daikon
Miso fried mushrooms
5-spice, star anise infused grilled eggplant into red miso garlic sauce
Soft tofu in genmatch tea
Vegan Cincinnati chili of cranberry beans and kidney beans on buckwheat noodles
All-american potato salad with homemade bread and butter pickles
Quick pickled homegrown carrots, celery, radishes and spicy pickled tomatoes
Apple sauce infused sweet tapioca with almond brittle
Kabocha “pie” filled homemade mocha