Farm & Garden Notes: Hi, September

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Wow, what a summer! Though we are still feeling the effects of the late-summer windstorm—the farm lost power; the powerful winds blew over the taller flowers such as the dahlias and lobelias, plus the 5-foot-tall asparagus fronds in the garden; and, we are still picking up many of the limbs that came off the big trees—the rain it brought was desperately needed. Now, the pond is full again and the resident ducks have returned.

We are certainly hoping for the return of our summery weather, at least for a while longer, as we are not quite ready for the summer bounty of fresh tomatoes, corn and peaches to be over. Although, looking ahead to the cornucopia of the fall harvest is a balm: Soon we will see the apples and pears, squash and pumpkins, hardy kales and cabbages, that take us into the season each year. The apples will be the first ready with the crisp, tart Honeycrisp and Akane varieties. Next up come the Asian pears, along with the continuing Italian plums and grapes.

In the garden, things are slowing down with cooler nighttime temperatures and shorter days, but the tomatoes and peppers are still coming into their own in the protection of the hoophouse. The kale, cabbage and broccoli seedlings are going into the ground to overwinter, and the winter squashes are just about ready to harvest and cure. Also coming out of the ground: fresh garlic and storage onions, including one of our favorites, the flat Italian Cipollini onion.

The kitchen continues to bustle with pickling, preserving and canning as we put away the summer bounty. September is always busy spent crafting big batches of Nonna Pat’s tomato sauce to carry us through the winter months. This family recipe reminds us of family, and as the kids go back to school, we find ourselves focusing on hearth and home, catching up with loved ones after busy summer travel with Sunday suppers and gatherings. From our family to yours—happy fall!

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