Monday, September 12, 2011

Smells of September

Fall is a great time for nostalgia. It is common to hear people talk of going back to school, of football, or of the new television season. To misconstrue these mundane transitions as "seasonality" is indicative of either our society's disconnect with nature, or else of some Southern California conspiracy.

At the farm, the change of the season is unmediated by the media. So awash in change is our Maine September that one hardly needs more than one of our five senses to instantly perceive the season.
My nose has never before been my strongest of sensory collectors, but recently it has been performing amazingly at taking in the season. There is the sweetness of apples that clouds around in the pasture where the chickens peck the fallen fruit near their pen.

The intense flavors on the air when I mow the old parsley down.

Bee hives are heavy with scents of pollen, wax, and honey.

Probably the most intense smells of the season for me have come from our squash field. Stink bugs (aka squash bugs) have made this a disappointing harvest for us, but the cacophony of smells indicate an on-going struggle. I smell the sweetness of rotting fruit, competing with the sharp twist of the scent gland of the bug. When we drive the truck into the field to harvest what we can, we leave a trail of strong stink!

Since last week when I smashed the rear window on the truck, smells billow into the cab of the truck. The sweetness of ripe and rotting fruits-- tomatoes, elderberries, apples, tomatillos...
follows me from the field to the compost pile. What is rot but millions of spores from fungus. I noted a distinct increase in that fungus smell after hurricane Irene rained on us and whipped our plants around. The air is thick with bugs, spores, and smells of decomposition. It kinda makes me want to go to the mall to smell those crisp fall fashions hanging on the sales rack.

Before it all goes back to the soil, though, we still have some harvesting to do!
This week we will have
Soy Beans
Delicotta Squash

This broccoli raab (aka rabe) is the best of our leafy greens. We don't generally wait for this to "head" like true broccoli, which demands a very small harvest window and risks a tougher stem. The great flavor is found mostly in the leaves anyway. It is best lightly sauteed with garlic, a bit of vinegar-- just keep it simple! Great with eggs in the morning, and (I know this is obvious) bacon or sausage.
Fresh soy beans, or edamame is a great snacking vegetable. You might notice that we give you the whole plant. Put your family's hands to work picking off all the pods. Get a pot of salted water boiling, and throw in the pods until they look bright green; just a few minutes. Drain, and eat just like pistachios. If you have too much to eat now, just freeze them in a bag for later.

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