Saturday, October 06, 2018

going for the gold

It isn't a good day for a stroll around the farmers market. Too cold, too wet, too threatening. Still, as I will myself to get out of bed, I'm remembering that the corn farmers -- the ones who really know how to push the season -- promised one last day of corn today. And it's an exquisite corn: even after five days in the fridge, the flavor is extraordinary. I putz around downstairs, Ed sleeps. I fix breakfast, Ed sleeps. It's 10 a.m., I tell myself. Go now eat later. They'll likely sell out in an hour or so.

I put on my puffy jacket for this one. And gloves. And I take out Rosie the moped and scoot downtown.

I remember the first time I ever rode with Ed on his motorcycle -- it was late October (thirteen years ago!) and it was a cold late afternoon. Ed was so happy to expose me to the joy of riding a motorbike. I was so cold! Every time we went through a valley, I felt like someone had opened the refrigerator on an already cold interior. Today I reminded myself of the old Danish saying -- there is no such thing as weather that's too cold to enjoy; but there is such a thing as being improperly dressed for it. Bundled and zipped tight, I get going.

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And it is worth it. Here is the truckload of gold! (Next week they'll flip their tent banner to face the market: instead of fresh corn, they'll be selling the frozen stuff.)

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I buy a lot, telling myself I'll do something creative with it this week.

I don't really walk the market. I scoot around at its periphery. Catching sight of our farmer friends from up the road, I pause to pick up a bunch of sunflowers from their stand. Also the last ones this year.

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What I did not know then was that Jacques Pepin, chef and cookbook author extraordinaire, was also shopping the Madison market today. Such an odd time for him to come here for market shopping! The truth is that our growing season has come to a close. True, a small handful of farmers will grow foods year round (spinach comes to mind), but mostly, they're done.

At the farm, the cheepers are hovering near the driveway, wondering why I went off without feeding them (they're by the young quince trees which this year did produce the first fruit ever).

Okay okay okay! Follow me!

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By the time I am in the farmhouse, Ed is awake. We sit down to breakfast.

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You have to really twist my arm to go out again: our sweet, warm farmhouse (painted Caribbean yellow!) is like a comfy blanket on a cold night ...

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But the fact is, it's only going to get colder. You cannot grow soft!

We hike our favorite trail -- one that was unattractive during the entire summer because of the bugs this year -- the Brooklyn Wildlife Area. It's terribly wet and muddy at the prairie end and the day continues to be cloudy and a bit drab, but despite all this, the walk is beautiful.

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I am instantly reminded how gorgeous a forest can be in autumn. Even before the burst of color, it displays enough variety to set your senses spinning.

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Around every corner, there is something grand.

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On this trail, we always climb up to the viewpoint, where we sit on the bench (put there by the Ice Age trail builders) and take in the landscape around us.

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Into the forest once more...

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... and out again.

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Evening. I clean the corn, freezing some kernels for winter stirfries, saving the remaining cobs for dinners this week.

For the last time this year we have a dinner of corn picked just this morning. It is like a plate of comfort food. I'd say at this moment, we all need some good, warm comfort food.