“Tis the Season”

No, not that season, although a friend in the Philippines has already begun playing Christmas music. I mean the season of abundant harvest of fruit and vegetables. When I was three, I posed above with part of the bounty of my parents’ large backyard vegetable garden. My mother canned the tomatoes, but we ate and gave away the rest to neighbors and friends.

As a child in the 1950’s, I ate fresh food in season and canned food the rest of the year. My mother didn’t switch to frozen vegetables until I was in high school, but she still mostly used canned goods. She refused to buy “hothouse” tomatoes, maintaining(correctly) that they tasted like cardboard. The only fresh vegetables we had were carrots. While we ate bananas, oranges and cold storage apples all year, the rest of fruit was completely local and seasonal.

Sharing in the local farm’s produce each week, I am once again connected to the seasonal availability of fresh produce. Somehow after years of being able to buy anything any time of the year, whether from Chile or New Zealand, I had lost the instinctive knowledge I had as a kid about when I could eat a particular food. I am grateful to have the experience right now, especially as in so much of the pandemic I know neither the day or the month.

Here in the beginning of September the apples are just coming on, the corn is getting dryer, the zucchini larger, and the blueberries are done. Our own raspberry bushes are full of the fall variety and the grapes are being devoured by flocks of birds. Pretty soon I will be cooking the fall vegetables, including winter squash.

There is a rhythm to nature, and I am glad that it is still keeping her own sweet time, no matter the political or pandemic world.

34 thoughts on ““Tis the Season”

  1. We planted our fall garden today. I think we will have another picking of blueberries and that will be it. Our cucumbers are long gone and our tomatoes on their way out. We have some Scuppernong grapes but the birds are taking them which is fine. They did not bear much fruit. We discovered what I thought was an apple tree, but now we are thinking it might be a persimmon. I do love the harvest season. I attempted your blueberry peach pie last night. I am not a pie baker so the crust needs a lot of work, but it was delicious nonetheless.

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  2. Yes, there is a rhythm to nature. Food is a classic example. When I was in college I went to a friend’s house for dinner. She lived on a farm. I had never tasted food so good. My mother was like the 50’s magazine ads for all the modern appliances. Wonder Bread was the rage. It was the “poor people” who made their own food. How terrible is that! Sadly, I inherited her dislike for cooking. Fortunately, I learned about seasonal food and have a great appreciation and taste for the ‘real thing’. I guess that makes me a 50-50. Excellent post, Elizabeth. Thank you.

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  3. imported fruit and vegetables – along with a variety of other things, are still arriving NZ, now. But every now and then a message comes that “bananas are in short supply” – we are a big nation of banana eaters, I seem to recall we consumed “each about 18kg per year” – of course they aren’t commercially grown here…
    I wax and wane on bananas but during this time period I found a very nice loaf to bake with any that feel the need to “walk out the door”

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  4. There is a rhythm to nature, but ever available foods out of season and processed foods have meant that we are losing the seasonal cycles and our connection to them…. Your photo had me recalling Harvest Festival when I was a child…..

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  5. Arlene does love Christmas! She would start it in March if she could.
    Good to see that reconnection with the seasons. I bought some Asparagus this week, and later found out it was from Peru. As they grow lots of it less than 20 miles from my house, I have to wonder why it comes all the way from South America.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  6. It is always good to hear about your experiences Elizabeth. And I love the pictures you usually post when you were a kid. I don’t have those. They were all destroyed.

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        1. My grandmother and two aunts were there. The roof of our bedrooms were destroyed but
          the house remained standing. Our things were drenched. We were in Quezon City when it happened.

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  7. Here in India, we get farm fresh vegetables as per the season unlike when I was in the UAE where we had all the vegetables twelve months of the year. Its nice like you said that nature hasn’t lost its rhythm.
    Lovely photograph of your childhood.🙂

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  8. I love how you have pictures from childhood that exactly match your theme! And how wonderful to be eating local produce according to its season as nature intended. I didn’t do well with my own garden this year, except for the apples which I am enjoying immensely!

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  9. Beautifully written. I think that fruits and vegetables are so much more enjoyable when eaten while they are in season. I like looking forward to the first strawberries, the first cucumbers, etc. And, I even savor the corn that is getting drier as the end of the season nears, knowing that it soon will be another year until I have corn on the cob agian.

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  10. I like the photo of you with the fresh vegetables from your family garden.
    I am reminded of being a child growing up in Detroit, where my Alabamese Dad always cultivated fresh vegetables in our backyard. We had a variety of greens and peppers, as well as squash, tomatoes, and green onions. Sometimes my mother would pack a lunch for me that consisted only of a boiled egg and a whole tomato with a little bit of salt and pepper on the side – two things that I actually enjoyed but my citified grade school classmates teased me about. Ironically, I was enamored of the prepared lunches distributed to children who could not afford to bring lunches from home. I didn’t understand that, then -and thought I was the “unlucky” one!

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