Saturday, August 31, 2013

End of August Harvest

Labor Day weekend always seems to mark the unofficial end of summer. Vacations are over, students and teachers are back in school, leaves are turning. Usually by the last day of August, the lawn has turned brown and the garden has begun to fade if not faded.

As I've written before, the tomatoes in our garden were a bust, except for an excellent daily yield of Sun gold tomatoes. At nearby New Roots Farm where I volunteer, Farmer Renee is an expert tomato grower and her yields are just kicking into high gear. She grows many varieties of heirloom tomatoes. Perhaps my favorite is the "blush." I get to bring home the seconds, including the lovely batch in this photo. The tomato in the middle--a blush--weighs about two pounds.
Our garden is still carrying on pretty well. Today I wandered the rows and picked the following: green beans, okra, yellow and red sweet peppers, one zucchini, a Beatrice eggplant, a red jalapeƱo, and a handful of red grape and Sun gold tomatoes. The delicata squash (whitish with green stripes) was harvested a few weeks ago when the vines died.
We planted our first peach tree--the old peach--more than 10 years ago. At the same time we planted what was supposed to be a Cortland apple. It materialized into a crabapple with lackluster production. But it provides some shade in the front yard and has lovely apple blossoms each spring. This year fruits of all kind were heavy producers, and for the first time, the crabapple was "loaded." 

Last week I filled a gallon-size ziplock bag with walnut-sized crabapples from our tree and used about half to make a crabapple crisp. It was tasty, although could have used a tad more sugar. We've thought many times about cutting down the crabapple, but it may have saved itself this year with its good crop of fruit.
The young peach has been picked nearly clean now, although a raccoon visits the tree at night in search of the last few overripe peaches. We find its scat beneath the tree in the morning. Perhaps that is why Kodi sometimes barks during the night. The old peach, which ripens a few weeks later, has survived another year of disease, storm damage, and thoughts of replacement with a younger tree. We don't yet have the heart to chop it down, especially since it keeps producing delicious peaches.

So, we celebrate this last day of August and give thanks to all the good fresh food coming from our own yard and from New Roots Farm.

And another cause for celebration today: my Mom's 92nd Birthday. Happy Birthday Mom!

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