I got to the Ann Arbor Farmers late one day in the first week of September. A vendor I didn’t know well still had peaches, but only a few quart baskets. They looked okay–nice color, if a little small.
As I made my purchase, they told me these were the last of their peaches this year. I felt lucky to have gotten them, until a few days later I when I saw the little globes still had barely ripened. I cut into the least hard one, and found it had good fruit flavor if not a lot sweetness. But when sliced up over ice cream, the marvelous peach essence came through loud and clear.
That’s the kind of thing that happens often at this time of year. A tomato might look ugly but you find yoursell eating half of it while you’re cutting it. Our dry July and hot August seems to have made corn ears smaller but sweeter. You want to save all the fragrant juice from roasted red peppers. Beans may seem tough down the stretch now, but give them a good sear in a hot oiled skillet with garlic and a little and soy sauce and you’ll hardly care.
And then there’s herbs: while they’re still fresh in the chef’s garden, I want to put them in everything. I like a sprig of rosemary with tonic water, ice and lime. Snips of mint on fruit salad. Tied-up stems of thyme and oregano in simmering tomato sauce. Snips of chives in scrambled eggs. I’m even trying to freeze some herbs this year, because I know winter will be here soon.
Here’s hoping you’re enjoying Michigan’s fall bounty as much as I am–maybe even gettting creative and trying a new twist. And meanwhile, crisp apples are just starting to appear!