See You in September
Summer sighs its first farewells with gentle breezes through chameleon leaves as nights cool and daytime temperatures drop.
Among the many joys this time of year brings, such as football season and kids going back to school, are the bountiful harvests in farmers’ fields and backyard gardens, waiting to be collected, shared, sold and enjoyed by everyone who likes good, fresh, whole food. One place that makes nature’s bounty available to all is the farmer’s market.
Breadbasket of the World
Something we take for granted here in the Midwest is ready access to fresh produce and other farm products.
Yes, we have major cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis and others, but these mega-metropoli are surrounded by acres and acres of farm country that produce the primary sources of all the major food groups (except for chocolate and coffee). We are blessed with groups in the communities within our urban areas and our suburbs that offer weekly displays of the bounty of God’s Creation.
Whether the farmers work backyard plots, community gardens planted in reclaimed brown space, or farms that range from one to one hundred acres, the groups gather to market fruit, vegetables, eggs, cheese, and the resulting products of their hard work to delighted epicureans. The market also delights the frugal shopper with buy-direct-from-the-source prices, which most of us can use in today’s economy.
Let Me Give You the Tour
Walk with me past the stalls and see for yourself: vine ripened tomatoes in reds and golds, and some not so ripe waiting to become fried green goodness; zucchinis and other members of the squash family in all shapes and sizes waiting to go home with you and slip into some Italian dressing or butter and garlic; peppers in all colors from sweet to hot to thermo-nuclear; potatoes that still smell of peat from the field; radishes, carrots, celery, broccoli; cabbages as big as your head; corn on the cob so sweet it does not need butter or anything else but a fire to roast it over, all stand at attention on this table or in that bin for your inspection.
Succulent fruits also await your consideration: large, juicy grapes and round, firm apples for myriad uses in the kitchen or distillery; pears so sweet you’d think they were fertilized with sugar; nuts in enough varieties to make a squirrel …, well, what else?
Then there are the homemade baked goods, canned goods, cheeses, (chevre is very common in NE Ohio), and Goat’s Milk fudge, which melts into chocolate nirvana the minute it touches your tongue.
All Good Things Must Come To an End
Eventually, about mid to late October, all the crops will have been harvested and the farmers, big and small, will have no more goods to sell. We stash away as much as we can in our freezers or inside Mason jars and then resign ourselves to making up for what we lack with what we can find in our grocery stores. For those few glorious months, however, it doesn’t get any fresher, or any better.
What type of locally owned/produced markets and food products do you have in your area? What are your Fall Favorites at the local markets?
Born and raised in Northeast Ohio with her BA and MA from the University of Akron, Mary has 20 years experience in the corporate sector working for local companies and Fortune 500s in customer service, PR, sales, advertising, and broadcast media. She currently teaches English Composition at Stark State College and UA. Her passion is living and teaching tolerance while pushing for Size Acceptance. She hopes to inform as many everyday Americans that the issue of Size is not an issue at all but merely a distraction from the real issues, such as the decline in public education, our infrastructure, economy and healthcare system. Mary loves irritating people by speaking her mind and presenting them with annoying facts, contrary opinions, and life's little ironies; when not doing that, she loves being with her family.