Saturday, September 22, 2007

At the Kingstowne Farmers Market- The Tween Season

Although yesterday had me still in shorts, the signs of fall were apparent at the market. Gone were the peaches and nectarines. Small ears of corn were a mere shadow of their robust August counterparts. But, that's OK. This is what seasons bring us: produce that burns as bright as a star, then goes to ground only to emerge again next year in full splendor.

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.....a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which has been planted. There is comfort in the rhythm.
And so the apples comfort with their beautiful red and green hues and crisp white flesh. The tomatoes continue to give fruit, unwilling to concede the fall. Apple pies and tomato sauces. The crossroads of the Autumnal Equinox. That time of year ( in Virginia) when sweatshirts top shorts and promising cool clear days are tempered by Indian Summer. I am as excited to fill my basket with Honeycrisp and Empire apples as I am to snap up $1/lb tomato seconds, then run over to the Middleburg Creamery ice cream truck to pick up a pint or two for home.

At Allenberg Orchards: Pumpkin Faces, Honeycrisp apples and tomatoes

Developed in Minnesota in the 1960's as a cross between the Macoun and Honeygold apple, the Honeycrisp apple has soared in popularity since it's commercial release in 1991. The "explosively crisp" apple seems to achieve the elusive balance between sweet and tart, enabling it to be eaten plain and in salads, baked goods and savory recipes. Large cell structure gives it extra crunch and it can be stored in the refrigerator for months.
Behold the Honeycrisp:

A mix of seconds tomatoes were still lovely specimens which will be used today in Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce recipe. I'm still too much of a coward to try canning them, so the sauce will be frozen in zip-loc baggies.

At Crackpot Gourmet: Delicious Jams

Smita Nordwall of Crackpot Gourmet offers wonderful jams with perennial and seasonal favorites. She has been selling her jams at the Kingstowne Market for 3 years. I bought a jar of "Peachy Keen" jam, which is also made with blackberry brandy and almond. It transcends the store brands by a mile and is fragrant with fresh peaches.

Samples and good company are abundant at Smita's stall.

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