Monday, October 1, 2007

The October Harvest Calendar


September’s gone and with it, I hope, the oppressive heat. In spite of the promise October brings of that first, soul-quenching nip in the air, this month’s a little more bittersweet for me than the last. These are the final weeks that so many of our crops are harvested for the year, and though the abundance I’ve been longing for since January is at its peak, it’ll soon start to wane. Sure in the cold months we’ll still have plenty of produce from the greenhouse and cold storage. But crops just taste better freshly harvested from an open field – the elements lend our food so much character and nuance, much as real living does us.


So October isn’t really a time of new harvests - we only add fennel and parsnips to the roster this month. But I take solace in the fact that these are two of my all time favorite winter vegetables.

And I also offer comfort by pointing out that there’s still an overwhelming profusion to enjoy - the vast majority of last month’s crops are still in season for the duration of October. The only September harvests that are now officially over for the year are beet greens, blueberries, cantaloupes, cucumbers, peaches, plums, prunes, radishes, and scallions.


By the end of the month, temperatures will have dipped low enough to end the lettuce harvest until next May, the pea and summer squash harvests until next June, the snap bean, corn, pepper, and raspberry harvests until next July, and the eggplant harvest until next August. So take advantage of those more cold-sensitive crops along with celery, grapes, fresh herbs, kale, spinach, swiss chard, tomatoes, and watermelon. October is their last month in season this year.


And though they’ll be available from cold storage during the winter, this is also the last month that apples, carrots, leeks, onions, pears, potatoes, pumpkins, and winter squash are available fresh from the field. The distinction can’t be replicated, so don’t forget to make the most of these crops too.



These crop facts are available in the sidebar harvest calendar over there on the right all month. The information comes from a guide published by the CENYC, which runs the Greenmarket & New Farmer Development Project. To familiarize yourself with what's in season where you live, I advise a visit to your own farmer's markets at least every couple of weeks. And ask lots of questions – no one knows which crops are at their peak quite like the people who grow them. To locate markets near you in the US, check the Zip or City Quick Search at Local Harvest.

It’s still a fantastically abundant month, so happy autumn, and happy October!

21 comments:

Great Big Veg Challenge said...

I loved this round up. Things are a little different in the UK but we hit seasonal products more or less the same time.
Our store filled up with different squash this week which I am working into lots of different recipes.

Simona said...

Great photos, especially the one with winter squashes. I don't think I have ever seen the one with little bumps on its surface: what kind is it, do you know?

Figs Olives Wine said...

Charlotte, thank you! It's so interesting that we're on a similar schedule - it gives me hope that autumn's on it's way! I'm still longing for London since you told me how beautiful it is there right now.

Simona, thanks so much! I'm so glad you like. I'm blanking on the name of the bumpy one right now, but I'll be sure to check it out today, and I'll get back to you about it.

marisa said...

Beautiful photos! Especially the garlic. This is my favorite time of year.

winedeb said...

Poked my nose into the produce section of the grocery store today while I was there for my wine supply and what was the new display? Pumpkins, squashes, big pots of mums and pine cones that were scented with cinnamon! Even though it is quite toasty here, I felt like it was Oct. being in the cold AC of the store with the smell and looks of fall!
Happy October!

Anonymous said...

Like Marisa and some of your other readers, I'm very excited that autumn has finally arrived. Your photos of the market are fabulous -they've inspired my boyfriend and I to make the most of what October offers.

Figs Olives Wine said...

Marisa, thank you! I think it's my favorite time too. Such abundance and a refreshing temperature for a change!

Winedeb, that's a wonderful feeling, isn't it? That first feeling of fall. I've been relying on ac for it too! Pinecones scented with cinnamon sound heavenly. Right up my alley.

Anonymous, thank you so much! I hope you guys enjoy the season as much as I am! There's nothing like it, is there?

swirlingnotions said...

I love this time of year at the farmers' market where one table is overflowing with tomatoes and another is filled with squashes and pumpkins of every shape and color. It really makes you grateful for the bounty, doesn't it?

Joanna said...

3rd time lucky, I seem to be having trouble getting a comment through ... I LOVE this post, great photos, especially the dahlias!

Joanna

Figs Olives Wine said...

Swirling Notions, thank you for your comment! It's such a great time of year - sort of straddles the seasons produce-wise, doesn't it? Tomatoes and raspberries next to parsnips and winter squash. Just heavenly!

Joanna, yikes! I'm sorry you're having trouble with the comment - thanks so much for persevering! As you know, I share your love of those dahlias! So sumptuous.

Garrett said...

Lovely round-up! Such an informative and beautiful post!

Cynthia said...

Happy October to you too honey.

Figs Olives Wine said...

Garrett, thanks so much! I'm really so glad you like.

Cynthia thank you! Have a great month.

Gloria said...

Nice pictures, I love grapes, but we have to wait to December for them, but your photos are lovely.Gloria

Joanna said...

Hi Amanda

I've nominated you for a nice award - you'll find it on my blog

Joanna
joannasfood.blogspot.com

Figs Olives Wine said...

Simona, I checked with one of the growers yesterday re: the lumpy white winter squash. It turns out that it' actually a type of pumpkin! Hope this helps, and thanks for the question.

Gloria, thank you very much! I love grapes too - when they're in season, the whole market has this wonderful perfume hanging over it. Heaven.

Joanna, that's so kind of you! I can't wait to check it out. Thank you in advance for thinking of me!

Wendy said...

A delightful round up. I'm even more excited about October now. It's always been one of my favourite months.

Arfi Binsted said...

While you're harvesting, we're still sprinkling seeds in our garden patches. It's wonderful often I have been thinking how the world is revolving and turning around, making the world is a place of different things to happen. I'm so glad to find your blog.

kathryn said...

As you turn into autumn and winter we're having our first super-hot days of the year. Today in Sydney it's what we call "proper-hot" - over 30C and a little steamy. Even the wind is hot.

My local greengrocer is filling up with asparagus, strawberries and I'm expecting the first mangoes of the season to hit very soon.

I love all those autumn foods you've highlighted in your post, but after the winter months I'm ready for summer. Including summer foods.

Figs Olives Wine said...

Wendy, thank you! It's one of my favorites too - such a good time of year right now.

Arfi, thank you for the comment! I'm so glad you found the site, and I love the point you make. It's miraculous, isn't it? The seasons are one of my favorite things about life.

Kathryn, I know how you feel! You're satiated with winter! Isn't it amazing how our cravings change with the season? Hot wind is brutal, by the way ;)

Pedro said...

It's that time of the year again!

October calendar

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