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A Time of Plenty

July 18, 2010

It’s been rather strange having an actual spring and summer in Maine, and to have them at “normal” times, as opposed to the delayed response we normally have. Everything is ahead of schedule, from a growing perspective, and it’s actually throwing me off.

Take blueberries, for instance. Normally they’re just getting towards peak in mid-July, but instead, they’ve been at peak for a couple of weeks and are on the downslide! It was quite disappointing to discover that my favorite blueberry field didn’t have the plethora of berries I’ve come to expect, but still, I’ve been able to sneak in a couple of visits to pick a few quarts. It’s not as many as I’d like, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

And then I had planned my menu a little around what I thought was going to be available at the Farmer’s Market – only to arrive and discover that I had some of it all wrong. Sugar snap peas, for instance, are just about done. But we already have corn! Zucchinis are also producing at a prodigious rate (as is their custom), tomatoes are out, green beans, green peppers, peas, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, broccoli, tons of greens, and even some eggplant! I also discovered a new type of beet that I wanted to try, and the fresh garlic was equally enticing.

The strange part about visiting the Farmer’s Market these days is that I feel like a kid in a candy store. I want to see everything, since different farmers have different foods available, and then decide what to get based on relative prices and availability. Except really, I want some of everything. I know that as one person, there’s only so much I can eat, but I had a hard time turning away from certain produce. I also had to keep reminding myself that I have some of my own food growing – the lettuce is lovely, I’ve gotten two tomatoes (!), and baby zucchini and cucumbers are on their way. Even so, when I stopped at Rosemont Market on my way home, I saw a baby sugar watermelon for just $3, which I simply couldn’t resist. The result is that my fridge is stuffed. I hope that I can eat as much as I think I can.

What’s strange to consider is that if you actually put me in candy store now, I might be interested in seeing the varieties of candy, but I wouldn’t want to try them all. Fresh fruits and vegetables, though – these will have me salivating at just the sight, the gorgeous hues of green, purple, red, yellow, orange, and more, a whole rainbow laid out as a feast for my eyes. I’m glad of it, and glad, too, that I’ve lost weight, since all that produce is quite heavy to carry around. The good news is that I can go a little crazy on eating it and not be too worried, unlike with candy. The other good news is that I live in a place where such food is easily available right now, and for that, and this time of plenty, I am deeply grateful.

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