I was noticing the other morning how the sun that usually shines on a section of our deck at a specific hour now shines elsewhere at that time. Somehow, in the midst of summer, I never actually notice the movement of the earth around the sun, but come the late summer the hours seem to move more quickly and where sun once shone shadows now play. That and the most amazing smell in the early morning of dew and cool and soil. And the coming of autumn noticed by the flowers that finally stand erect without drooping under a humid blanket. The Berkshires give me joy in all their seasons and those times between seasons may be the most wonderful of all.We put in a screened porch this year and it's added an entirely new dimension to our lives. We duck in there when the heat of the day makes being in the sun intolerable. Or when the mosquitoes make eating outside after 4pm impossible. We eat meals in there and find it delightful to sit, virtually outside, while it pours. We've furnished it with cast-offs and found furniture and reclaimed things. Nothing matches, everything is worn and tired and no one cares. It is all about comfort, friends, calm, good food and strong spirits.
BERKSHIRE PRESERVES has been busy producing jams that will prolong the summer-fruit season. The Italian prune plums are in the market now and I've put up an Italian Plum Jam that has the earthy flavors of prunes and Armagnac and a hint of nuttiness from the pit. It is altogether amazing in both flavor and color. It is a grown up taste, as is my Intense Apricot Jam, and not for the sugar-addicted crowd. The local stone fruit has been so extraordinary this year that you need to eat it over a sink to keep the juice from dripping down your arm. Just like I remember eating when I was a kid. And the local berries are plump and sweet- tart - just as I like them. What a summer. I'd say that I hate to see it end, but the fact is that I've grown tired of gardening, pulling weeds, saying "hi" to fat worms, chasing off chipmunks and mulching. It's time to turn my attention elsewhere and welcome the falling leaves and cooler days. And soon, the return of exotic citrus fruits; Seville and Blood Oranges.
I saw two magnificent hawks today. We mush have disturbed them in their nest when we drove on a path into the woods. They flew low and large and I wish I had had my camera with me.
SOME BRIEF RECIPE SUGGESTIONS
I've been making the most of the local fruits and tomatoes lately making a salad of sliced peaches and heirloom tomatoes with a lemon, olive oil dressing. Add a dollop of ricotta, some dressed arugula, spoon over a slice of grilled bread and that's almost a meal in itself. For a crunch, add a few sprinklings of pistachios.
Make a grain salad of local sweet corn off the cob, red quinoa sauteed dry till it pops then cooked in chicken broth till absorbed, lime juice, cumin, a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder, chopped jalepenos, scallions. Toss and serve at room temperature.
BBQ pork ribs, dry rubbed with garlic powder, salt, pepper, hot paprika...folded into a packet of heavy duty aluminum foil and baked at 275 for 2 hours. Open packet, drain off the fat, spread on your favorite BBQ sauce mixed with our Blood Orange marmalade and bake for another 1/2 hour. Out of this world.
The Old Mill restaurant just ordered an additional ten pounds of marmalade bringing the total to twenty seven pounds in just two months. They've been serving it in small pots along with croissant at their Sunday brunch.
Taft Farms has put 60 jars of our jams on their shelf making our's the first such product, other than their own, to be on sold there. I'm honored!
Oh, and we've been getting orders through the Product Page on this blog. How amazing is that??
And, we continue apace at Guido's and Bizalion's.