Friday, October 5, 2012


Fall is harvest season, and usually in the fall I get the hankering to do a bit of pick-your-own. Usually at an apple orchard or a pumpkin patch, except in years of great success when I've had a lucky bounty of these things in my own backyard. Sadly the garden at mom's house fared poorly this year between pesky rabbits and dry dry weather. We've not got a single pumpkin. Even the zucchini plants (which I was sure would be hanging out with the cockroaches in the post apocalyptic world) died on us! As for the apples, two years ago we trimmed the trees back too hard, last year there wasn't a single apple, and this year there were and encouraging number of blossoms, but a late frost killed all but two.
 So, I headed over to Brooks Farms in Mt. Albert to get in on the harvest action today. I learned two discouraging things: that same frost also killed their whole apple crop, and it was half an hour until closing, which is not nearly enough time to select the perfect pumpkin! Not by half! However, the nice lady went on to explain that in their berry patches they've selected everbearing varieties, and the berry picking is still on until the first hard frost. Right on! Earlier in the summer we picked a boatload of red currants and gooseberries to make wine out of, but we didn't get enough for the recipe and while we have them put away in the freezer, our excitement has waned somewhat, so I though we'd use some of them to make a raspberry and red currant jam. I asked the lady to weigh my basket and set out to pick my fill of raspberries.
The rows of bushes didn't look too impressive, but once you got closer they were absolutely drooping under the weight of fat, sweet, jewel toned fruits. They taste like summer in a way I though was long gone for this season. I was allowed to pick from row 1 through row 6, but in half an hour one can only do so much.
This is about half of what I ultimately ended up with. The basket pictured is my market basket that I take shopping when we're doing re-enactment events. That's a white irish linen napkin that I use to cover the contents of my basket, which aren't always period. There are now some interesting pink blotches on said napkin, which is really only to be expected, but now I'm considering swishing the whole piece through my juiced fruits when I make the jam. Surely anything that can stain it can dye it, and then it will be a more robust colour that I won't have to be so careful with in the future. That's the plan... I'll post the results when we get there.
In the mean time, we'll have to pick another day to pick a pumpkin. Perhaps we'll find a day where Andrew can come with me. It should be a tradition. Yes. We'll make it so... ok, I'll make it so. hehe...

No comments: