Monday, October 3, 2011
The October Harvest Calendar
The seasons are finally shifting. The mornings have gone crisp. And the first of the chestnuts came in this week.
The grape harvest is in full swing.
And winter squash have arrived in gnarled, multicolored heaps.
It's hard to believe right now that most of these crops will be gone by next month. Especially when late summer treats like my favorite string beans are still in abundance.
The cauliflower is peaking.
The potatoes are in their last month.
And there are even a few plums still to be found.
But it's the prunes and tiny seckel pears that I've been buying up by the pound.
And quinces. Positively nothing says autumn like the fresh, earthy-floral perfume of ripe quinces hanging in the air. Put out a bowl of them in your house and see.
Just don't wait too long. All the damage from Hurricane Irene means the harvest of these and so many other crops is going to be more fleeting than usual. Many of the farmers have had to cut back the number of days they come to market this fall. It makes what they bring in all the more precious.
The River Garden's rosehips - something I look forward to all year - can only be bought on Fridays and Saturdays now. The farm lost about 85% of its crops in the storm. To support farmers as they continue to recover, keep shopping the greenmarkets whenever you can and click on the link for information on the Greenmarket's Hurricane Irene Relief Fund.
Crop notes 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.