Robert Frost said it best: nothing gold can stay — including summer squash, heirloom tomatoes, golden raspberries, apricots or Rainier cherries. Here’s to all of the summer foods we wish had longer growing seasons (and here’s to the fall produce to come).
Lauren Wilson: Cherries
ICYMI, this was a golden year for Red Jacket Orchards’ cherries. I got my first crate out of seasonal habit, but went back for my seventh out of addiction. Unlike other summer fruits, I don’t usually have a plan when I buy cherries; after a quick wash, I transfer the little jewels to a bowl and devour them one by one. If I hadn’t been so greedy this year, I would have made this cherry cola from A Simple Feast, which may have slightly extended the bite-size stone fruit’s shelf life in my kitchen. I didn’t though, and I don’t know if I’d get as much pleasure out of a bellyful of cherries if I had them for a longer amount of time, anyway. After all, absence tends to make the heart grow fonder.
Eileen M. Duffy: Tomatoes
If the inclinations of our contributors are any indication, I’m not the only one who will be missing tomato season. We ate them at every meal over Labor Day weekend, and every time my sister sliced one she had to show it around the room so we could marvel at the intensely glistening deep red of the interior. Check out what our contributors are doing to prolong the season here, here and here.
Rachel Wharton: Local grapes
They are only at my Greenmarket (Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza) for a few months each fall and they are so good they essentially ruin the act of eating grapes for the rest of the year. I will admit to enjoying frozen peas and greenhouse tomatoes off-season but man, those big fat grape bunches you find elsewhere are just no comparison. There are probably at least eight Upstate varieties for sale by mid-October, including our region’s famous purple Concords. Those are seeded, and last year I realized I could quickly juice them in my old handheld food mill in a few minutes and it was way easier than cleaning a juicer, so that is what I did almost every morning last fall.
Caroline Lange: Peaches
Do I dare to eat a peach? Yes, as many as possible during that high point in August and early September when I can barely stand to walk by the tables at the market without gripping one of the crates with both hands and sticking my nose so far into the pile of fruit that I come up dusted with peach fuzz. Right now, the peaches are at their best, so juicy that they demand your full attention: you’re safest eating one hunched over the sink.
Gabrielle Langholtz: Beans
Locavores go gaga for peaches and tomatoes but if I could give one ingredient frost-immunity, it would be beans. I just cant get enough of them this time of year, dropping $30 on those killer romanos at the farmers market Saturdays only to eat my way through the groaning bag within 48 hours. I love the biodiversity, from purple to yellow, from Kentucky Wonders to Rattlesnakes, and often just blanch them and eat them plain. Sure, my husband prefers them dressed up with things like red onion, vinaigrette and pistachios, but I find the fresh flavors, left alone, can truly taste as sweet as peaches and pears. I eat them all day long in September, try to pickle a few quarts, and squirrel some in the freezer to last me til next summer.
Feature photo: Flickr/Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble