I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve abruptly slammed on my brakes at the sight of fruit for sale since moving to California. Don’t worry, I’m careful. But at least one of every 10 drives involves a brake and swerve.
In this case, it was local cherries.
I’d lost track of the timing since last year, and I wasn’t quite sure what week to expect seeing trucks with them for sale parked at intersections. I was less than a mile from the house last week, when a truck came into view.
No. It couldn’t be. Is it that time already?
I was coming from behind the display so the truck was blocking my view. But just as I got close enough to see those round, glossy cherries piled high in cups lining a folding table – brake, swerve, park.
Peas and carrots have never been all that appealing to me. Carrots by themselves, good. Peas by themselves, or maybe in a pasta dish, good. Together? It’s lost on me. I’m simply not a fan.
So what do I do when I’m not a fan of something? I make my own version. Sub green peas with chickpeas and magically I find one of my favorite side dishes.
I caught a glimpse of them out of the corner of my eye. It seems like yesterday that I was asking the vendor at a local farm market if the blood oranges had arrived yet, only to be told it would be a couple more weeks.
And here we are now with the season ending.
I think it might take moving to California to truly appreciate citrus. Heck, maybe it takes moving to someplace like the Central Valley. (Although, I was equally excited about this season when we lived in the Bay.)
There are so many varieties, so many bright colors. It’s such a welcomed sight and taste during a season that is void of other favorites like berries and cherries.
Those last few lonely bags of blood oranges were staring at me, begging me to make one last thing before their season was over.
I’ve always wanted a messy garden. I know that sounds strange. Most people want a gorgeously organized, symmetrical growing plot with every veggie in its place.
Not me. I’ve always loved the look of gardens that are bursting at the seams with greenery growing in every direction. Like a forest gone wild that produces food.
This might be because I lack the skill to produce one of those perfect gardens. Maybe I’m drawn to messy gardens because they are easier to maintain. But really it’s how they look.
I’m getting there.
My Thanksgiving preferences typically go in this order of importance –
√ Pumpkin pie (specifically my grandmother’s recipe)
√ Sweet potatoes
√ Brussels sprouts (yes, a vegetable!)
You can really just leave turkey off my list entirely. I’d rather dip into my calorie and carb savings account for the four options above.
I don’t have time this November to do a full Thanksgiving post series like my Thanksgiving Cooking for Two last year, but I can’t let the season slip by without sharing a few menu options. Specifically this one from my top four categories of Thanksgiving foods.
Do you ever have those days when you are convinced that no one gets you?
I do. And they’ve been happening a lot more frequently.
But it’s okay. I do it to myself. I’m a nerd in the true sense of the word when it comes to food, fall and farms. I think this is why social media was invented. Way, way back in the day, there was someone sitting around who felt like no one got them. So they decided to find a way to surround themselves with people around the world who did.
That has to be factual, right? I’m sure it’s documented somewhere.
For example, just the other day I came across the largest, most gorgeous persimmon tree I’d ever seen. It was full of fruit and towered around me in every direction. It had to be years and years old. It was next to a store and when I checked out, I gushed to the cashier about how beautiful the tree was.
She looked at me like I was an alien.
Nope, didn’t get me.
Brussels sprouts are a year round food for me, but the frequency that they appear in my meals picks up when fall rolls around. I’ve already stocked the fridge twice with them in the past two weeks. They are a clear favorite in the vegetable category right now. In the grain category, wheat berries are holding their spot at number one. I can’t get enough of a simple wheat berry salad.
I’ve never served the two together so when I was tossing around ideas for a fall salad, I decided they would probably go pretty well together, especially with a nutty tahini dressing.
My goodness they were monsters!
I’m not sure if I’ve been growing and buying Japanese-style eggplants for too long, or if things have changed, but the American variety of eggplants at the supermarket last week were absolutely huge.
They were eye-catching, though. So much so that I took one look and decided it was high time I made baba ganoush again.
If you’ve been reading my blog a long while this combination won’t surprise you. I starting eating one form or another of cantaloupe tomato salad back in 2011. For those of you who might be new readers, hear me out.
I know it sounds like a strange combination, but I promise it is so good! There is something about the sweetness of both the melon and the tomatoes that is delicious when combined and then drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with black pepper. It’s a refreshing twist to most of the summer salads you’ve had so far this year.
This berry salad combines blackberries and strawberries with fresh herbs from the garden. It’s my celebration of access to so much delicious local produce all summer long.
A couple of weeks into the month of May, it dawned on me that I have yet to live in a place where so many of summer’s fruits and vegetables are in season at the same time.
I realized it when I stopped by the farm stand to grab some berries and found myself staring at cherries, strawberries, boysenberries, blackberries and blueberries. All local, all harvested that morning just a few feet away.