Sunday, October 17, 2010

Red is a Spring and Fall Color

For some, the signs of winter's passing and spring's arrival may be the sounds of lawn mowers revving up for the seasons war on less than manicured lawns or the first crack of a baseball bat as spring leagues take to the field.  For me it is the glimpse of ripened tomatoes, grown locally in fields I have seen as I travel around the area.  It is the sign that announces that my local farmer's market is open and I can enter and partake. 
I enter the different vendors booths with a sense of anticipation. I am not someone who successfully eats the produce of the seasons...I know, I know Lauren (my healthy, earth friendly daughter) I should, but sometimes I need a BLT and the only tomatoes available are a winter shadow of the real thing.  Pithy. Pinkish and not red.  And no real smell to offer my acute sensibilities.  So when I can handle the real thing, and I mean handle, I am like the proverbial kid in the candy shop.  I go into the booths and run my hand over the vegetables as if I were a lover caressing the body of my one and only.  Don't worry I disinfect before I go.  I am aware of my actions.
I have tried for years to grown my own garden.  I have planted tomatoes, bell peppers, patty pan squash and herbs.  I rarely get the tomatoes to cooperate.  This year the underside of every tomatoe was black and rotten.  I was told this was bottom rot and that I could pick up something to help with this plant affliction. So I went to Roxbury Mills farm and Garden center,  A place that smells of all things growing...soil, fertilizer, bulbs, get the idea.  I walked in and a man approached me and asked if he could be of help.  Because I rarely think before I speak,  I told him that I had bottom rot and could he help me.  At first I couldn't figure out his quizzical expression, and then I realized my error and quickly did what I could to stop the flow of red to my face and tell him that my tomatoe plants were producing fruit with bottom rot...not me... and could he help. Even though he was most helpful and provided me with a spray that should have helped, I can never grow edible tomatoes that I would proudly serve at my dinner table.  I had luck with my patty pan squash...well I should say it took over the whole dang garden area and provided a little vegetable sustenance. So, I decided that herbs are my specialty and I will now trust the growing of all things vegetable to the pros.
Patty pan squash is my favorite and I buy it by the truckload every week.  I slice it, throw some EVOO on it with some salt and pepper and grill it.  It has a different taste than regular squash...a little sweeter.  A little more tender. 

Patty Pan Squash
I wondered for years what this odd shaped vegetable was until my friend, Lacey introduced us.  And I am thankful that she did.  These little pac man shaped veggies have been a treasure through the summer and whether grilled or roasted I can never have enough.

The summer has left and autumn is approaching.  The color of the vegetables have transferred to the trees.  The farmer's market stands are no longer full of the vibrant color of spring, but have begun to tone it down.  Apples, acorn squash and butternut squash have calmed down the splash of vibrancy, but are not any less tasteworthy.  However all is not lost.  Like many women before me, I decided to try and capture summer in the bottle and try and can the last of this seasons tomatoes.  Next post!! I will share how it all went.