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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Taking a Fall

tiny pumpkin
It's getting toward the middle of September and I am getting ready for a trip to the East Coast during my sabbatical which will last one month.  And I am getting nervous.  Not about the trip so much as what will I miss the this next month at the farmer's market?  I was hoping to get some butternut squash today, but I didn't see any organic ones.  I hope I won't be too late for them when I get back in October.  I must have a bunch of squash, butternut and others, for the winter.  People always think it is strange that I buy a winter's worth of squash in the fall, but they will be just fine stored in my cold kitchen.  I did get one small pumpkin this morning.  And had to remind myself about buying more than I could eat this week--which was difficult to do.  And I had to remember that my freezer is totally full.  Not really any room to squeeze anything else in (well, actually, I did squeeze in two quart bags of chopped celery). See the photo of my freezer below.

Actually, I know what I will miss the most, the people.  My two favorite young farmers are contemplating some big changes for next year and it makes me sad to think they might not be "my" farmers next year.  The vendors and people who shop regularly at the farmers' market become a little community.  We care about what happens to one another.  I overheard one farmer ask after the health of a woman's husband this morning, and a shopper inquire after the health of a farmer's husband.  We talk, we get to know one another, it is personal not industrial.  That's a big part of ethical eating for me--knowing where my food comes from and knowing that they have values like I have and that those values protect the earth, protect the community, and foster relationships.

full freezer, very full
But just in case you might think that my trip east means I won't have ethical eating things to talk about, let me assure you I will have some culinary adventures--I will be in NYC for a few days, talking on community food security and environmental justice at Fairfield University in CT, and continuing to work on my sabbatical project (of the same subject as my Fairfield talk).  I'll be helping my Dad, I am sure, take down the little veggie patch he has (yet I am hoping there will still be a few tomatoes when I get home).  And am planning a book review blog entry on the book I am reading now for my research.

drying tomatoes
I will offer one regret--I didn't get to can tomatoes this year.  I have lots of jam, and jars, but the tomato season was a little late and my trip will interfere.  Still, I was able to freeze a few pints of sauce and am continuing to dry lots and lots of them.  Having a few pints of sauce will be good for pizza and such over winter, and having dried tomatoes will be good for soup, stew, pasta, risotto and lots of other things.  Either way, the bright, sunny taste of summer is preserved.  Next fall, I will be better prepared and perhaps a little less timid about the canning.  I'll figure out some winter canning projects to keep my burgeoning canning skills.

Things are heating up, even as the weather starts to cool down.  Fall is my favorite time of year and while Fall in Spokane is much more like a New England fall than anywhere I have lived in the last ten, fifteen years, I am happy to get some time in New England this fall.  Until the east coast then--

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