We here at the farm are enjoying the lovely warm weather this September has brought with it. There is no denying that some mornings and evenings have been cooler, but that feels refreshing even when we know it sends a different signal to the vegetables than the warmer nights of July and August do. As much as we really want our pastures to green up, especially before the goat buck comes to visit our ladies next month, we would be thrilled with a warm, warm, warm September and October.
We love seeing such lush growth going on in the fields for our winter crops, so different than when we plant them out in the spring and they go at it much slower while they wait for temperatures to warm. We can’t help but remember the stark contrast between main season harvesting and winter harvesting, how things we normally harvest from again and again and they just keep growing and growing are doing nothing of the sort come mid- December. Everything just sits until the next big change in the fields is flowering brassicas and the start of rapini harvesting begins in early spring. We are feeling some trepidation, but an equal amount of confidence.
One thing we know for sure is that just like the summer crops in the ground in spring, these plantings are just as mouth watering for the flavors they provide, for the shift in cooking methods and meals on the table. Cold weather broccoli and cauliflower, hearty cabbages, sweet frost kissed roots and cooking greens, special winter salads of crops that just are not feasible to grow in the summer but everyone loves—spinach and arugula—as well as more unusual greens such as chicory and endive! And this year, potatoes for the winter instead of the summer, hooray! Winter squash and leeks and garlic and onions….mmmm! I am really enjoying the last month of summer meals and these lusciuos summer vegetables, but we have a lot of tasty food to look forward to and the wonderful compression of the colder months, where our wide open soul expansion can be wrapped up for the year by the warm hug of hearth and home. The recipes this week are pure summer, and seeing as how that is almost gone (well, true summer is really gone), I thought I should include them as they make perfect use of the last of summer’s fruits. Gazpacho on one of these last warm days, ratatouille a sure sign of September for us, and before the last of the cucumbers are gone, Tzatziki. Well, these are just suggestions, anyways. Whatever you make with this weeks vegetables, savor it and let the flavors of summer shine on your table as brightly as they can before the shift becomes complete, and we are fully into the fall.