The last market of the season
It’s the end of market season here, and I joined the handful of hardy shoppers braving the cold November rain to pick up a little late produce – butternut squash, leeks, big Jonagold apples and some frozen lamb and sausage – from the few vendors who showed up for the final day.
I’ll miss my weekly market trips, and not just for all the good things they bring to my kitchen. Shopping regularly at a small-town farmers’ market brings new friends: vendors who come to recognize me over the weeks, my neighbors who are about to go into hibernation for the winter. Maybe I’ll venture over to the Wednesday market in Corvallis, or make it to the Winter Market at the fairgrounds in January, but it’s not the same.
Meanwhile, though, some of this year’s bounty is in the freezer: Applesauce, roasted pumpkin, corn frozen right off the cob, oven-roasted tomatoes, lamb. As winter progresses, I’ll bring it out, thaw it, use it in dishes that bring memories of the harvest. If my habits hold true, I’ll probably eat the very last of it in April, right before the new market season opens. In the meantime, I’ll write about other harvests, and other meals: The Dungeness crab we’ll soon be seeing, pulled fresh from the ocean just 45 minutes away, the savory soups and risottos I’ll concoct this winter from dried beans, mushrooms and other hearty things.
Food, and the way we buy it, can tie us to the seasons if we let it. As surely as the rains of November bring a sense of farewell, spring and the market’s reopening will come like a welcome.