Summer is winding down here, with all of the sub-tropical produce harvested and just the roots and hardy greens left to go. The latest varieties of apples are still on the trees but the peaches, pears, and earlier apples are all picked and either solar dried or bottled for juice. The later apples will go straight into the root cellar. The last meal of fried eggplant “steaks” happens today. And the solar dryer is full of pear slices, eggplant chips, peach leather, and both Pink Bottom (Agaricus campestris) and Elm Oyster mushrooms. We ended up with about 7 gallons of peach juice from our bountiful and highly unusual peach glut this fall. Who knew that we’d have as much peach as apple juice? This far north that’s not supposed to happen.
After two hard frosts the local vegetation is looking a bit more sparse, with the boxelder trees mostly bare and everything looking a bit less green with more of a yellow-brown cast. Soon we’ll reach peak fall tree color intensity and we’ll remember this summer with fondness and longing. But with a pantry and root cellar full of “solid sunshine” we can still, as the singer Greg Brown says, “taste a little of the summer, ’cause Grandma put it all in jars”.