The month says October even if it feels mostly like September, which this year hardly felt like September at all. As much as we had spring like thunderstorms and other weather oddities last week, the seasons do march on at the market. Blueberries, gone. Peaches, gone. Dominating the market instead, the apple.
Does not buying apples feel right? Peach trees take up a good part of SW Michigan, but do not peaches feel like an interloper. A cousin from the south that took the bedroom over the attic and now charms the neighbors with his sweet talk. Apples belong. It took nothng more than a jog through town by Johnny Appleseed to spring apples in these parts. Our parents ate apples and our grandma's baked apple pie. The bounty of apples this time of year, more than any other moment, I believe, tie the market to a sense of place and time. For as Nigerian eggplant intrigue and hot peppers expand the repotoire, it is nice to have traditions too.
At Nichols, he stood balancing several apples and a sharp knife, offering samples, and reminding, get some because each variety only lasts a week or two. And we found plenty of macouns, very large for the breed and stashed them away for the exclusive use of the Condiment Queen. The rest of us settled for this week's batch of cool names that will never be associated with a particular snack: northern spy, turly winesap, snow red (or something like that), granny smith, mitsu and jonagold (we could have bought jonathon and jonalicous to do a vertical tasting). Actually, I lied about telling them apart. The green granny smith surely look unique (a bit sui generis as they say.)
Beside apples, this is the time of year for certain vegetables. Remember when the market was distictly purple. Well, yesterday, the market was distictly white. Well, not really distictly white, but distictly lacking in color. Gray parsnips and ashen rutabagas, gnarly beige celery root and mondo heads of cauliflower. Given how colorless the products were this week, I've attached an apt picture.
Quickly, the mushroom report: Mr. Vague Celt was there again at Nichols, misprouncing Greek mythical figures once more. He did, however, bring with huge samples. There was an entire Kentucky Fried Chicken shop's worth of fried chicken fungus, also huge baffles of dyades. Mixing things up were some oyster mushrooms. By the way, if one makes a dish with oyser mushrooms and lobster mushrooms, is it called seafood salad?
The growing influence of VI: The Chicago Tribune published an article on the front page of last Thursday's Tempo Section on the Avedon Honey Man. Farmer's Market report readers learned about him several months ago. This follows the New York Times reporting on the goodness of concord grapes.
Crapapple sitings: none (and I did not ask)
Oh, and finally, for those filling in their autumn tableau. Pumpkins were starting to appear, surely the big jack-o-lantern types, but also the svelte ones so beloved on centerpieces. Still, I was at Costco yesterday and foud that a packet of gourds could also be had there. Is this not the one thing we should boycott at the farmer's market and buy wholesale (Erik?).
See you next week (only a few weeks left!)
[The caption to the picture is below]
The curd is the total inflorescence or the portion of the head where all the florets are attached, excluding the central cone-shaped portion, and exclusive of the stem and any attached jacket leaves.