This was an elegiac weekend, one in which to contemplate the swift passage of life's richest gifts. It was also a time to elbow people in the stomach on my way to a crate of produce. This, friends, was the last weekend for fresh corn at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. It was also the last real weekend for field-grown tomatoes (and what other kind is worth bothering with?)--there may be a few stragglers ripening half-heartedly under row covers, but today the Beefsteaks and Brandywines and I knew it was goodbye.
Not that the family won't have plenty of heavy tote bags to drag home on our autumn Saturday morning sorties. We got a fine, somewhat triangular pumpkin (let's see if the kids in the street will spare it from beating or kidnapping this year).
I've gotten a few mums (not this many);
I am especially proud that one of last year's plants, which I stuck in the ground after it shot its bolt, came back and bloomed this year, right on schedule, without a commercial nursery's worth of forcing.
I hope the grapes will last another week or so ...they are the juicy passion that eases my heartbreak over tomato- and corn-withdrawal. The names alone--"Seneca," "Canadace," "Jupiter"--are like poetry, conjuring the mythical upstate New York of Mark Helprin's A Winter's Tale with its mystical "Lake of the Coheeries."
I love trusty earthy things for making soup. Okay, half the time I buy them meaning to make soup and then let them get all slimy and neglected in the crisper, but who can resist the notion of earthy soup-making?
And of course, everywhere there are squash, from tiny "Delicata" to monstrous grey Hubbards. I happen to like winter squash, if I'm feeling energetic enough to whack away at it with a cleaver, scrape out seeds, and hack it into chunks for baking or boiling. But this year, I decided that one of those vaguely menacing pod-shaped ones should be pressed into service as a Hallowe'en decoration more menacing than any Jack-o-lantern. Here, on our table, a tribute to the Invasion:
Now that's what I call a festive fall centerpiece!