October 4, 2012 by LeVoyageur
The Harvest Moon has come and gone and is now on the wane. Fall is definitely in the air here in England, if not threatening us with an early Winter. There was basically no real Summer to speak of this year in England, the few warm days we had were all too fleeting. This has resulted in widespread moodiness and fantasies of warm, sunny vacations come January.
This time of year is usually the test of a productive growing season when we hope to see the results of the farmers’ hard work at the market. This year we’ve endured more purple sprouting broccoli than we should have, especially since it is a crop that seems to produce throughout the year. Squashes, a favorite Fall dish, are small and so far bland and watery, which is disappointing, but not surprising.
Apples on the other hand seem to have responded well to the cooler season. They are at the market in good quantities, it would seem to my untrained eye. They are a bit small, but that’s to be expected given the weather. We have yet to see cobnuts. Cobnuts are a crop that we don’t have in the US and which we have come to enjoy. It’s just a cultivated variety of hazelnut, but they are considered a heritage crop here in the UK, and they can be found at farmers’ markets much like you might find walnuts in France or the US.
It may be cliché, and every season has its merits, but there really is something about Fall that makes it the favorite season for so many people. Perhaps it is the lead-in to Winter, with its attendant desire to harvest, to store up for the long dark months ahead. Such thoughts emanate from deep within, at least for country boys (in Spirit) like us. We may no longer need worry about survival, but the will, the drive to prepare for the coming months is in its way as much a creative force as Spring planting is for the gardener.
So, we are making early preparations for the Winter holidays, just as we remember handing out treats to children on Halloween from our stoop in Ithaca a few years back. And we are storing up as much tomato sauce, freshly made from local tomatoes, as our tiny freezer will hold. We anticipate pots of apple sauce and consider our options for Sunday roasts that will warm our flat and nourish us with togetherness, just as it gives us a healthy meal.
There is nothing that pulls our thoughts homeward quite like Fall. It is a season of remembrance, a turning that would be melancholy were it not for the vibrant glow of forest leaves and the moments when flowers often show their colors most intensely.
The falling of leaves should not be a metaphor for loss and sadness, but rather an opportunity to see more clearly through the forest; a chance to glimpse the creatures of the wild as they make their own preparations. And maybe, for some hunters, to say thank you to those creatures who might become many meals shared with family and friends.
So I wish you all a warm and colorful Autumn. And remember, as the seasons change and the long, dark night of Winter approaches, there is nothing there but transformation and renewal. Make the most of it!