The apple-tomato ratio at the farmer’s market is at least three to one, which indicates only one thing: It’s fall!
Summer left us last weekend, when the farmer’s market still smelled of fresh basil and warm tomatoes, and now Braeburns, Honey Crisps, Macintoshes, Ginger Gold’s and Cortlands fill their place. Pumpkins, squash and cider replace those cucumbers and zucchini we were getting so tired of. Some time between last weekend and this one, someone somewhere hit a switch and autumn rolled in.
So pause for a moment, and make sure autumn’s entrance does not pass by unnoticed. The change of seasons offers a chance to stand up, stretch our legs, look around and appreciate the thrill that comes with nature’s evolution and a bit of pumpkin pie spice. Seasons provide consistent change, at once giving us something to look forward to, as well as an excuse for a little nostalgia. Where were you last autumn? Did you pick apples, carve a pumpkin, eat a pie? And this autumn, what kind of face will you give the pumpkin?
Last Friday I sat short-sleeved on the Copley lawn, summer lingering as the burgeoning crowd milled around the market. Pale green ears of corn tumbled off towering piles as people scooped up armfuls, and the tomato on my over-priced yuppie bakery sandwich was juicy and sweet.
By Sunday, however, all memories of summertime picnics and sweaty afternoons had evaporated until next year, and I was crunching apples at Allendale Farm in Brookline.
On my never-ending quest for farms, two friends and I caught the Orange Line to Forest Hills, trekked across the lush Arnold Arboretum, and followed an inconspicuous residential road to Allendale Farm, hiding in Brookline. Boston-dwellers have tilled the land at Allendale Farm for 250 years, growing sustainable produce sold mainly at their farm store, and to local restaurants and the Whole Foods Market in Cambridge. ‘ ‘ ‘
Entering the farm stand, we noticed signs of the changing season everywhere. Squash, apples and pimply gourds greeted us. Summer’s delicate perennials were marked down to half price, and pumpkins overflowed out of giant crates. The cold air smelled fresh and the apples filling the baskets still had bright leaves on their stems. We chose our deep red prizes like kids in a candy store.
I like the peacefulness of farms, where I know people are working, and things are growing and living, but the only noise might be the distant rumble of a tractor, or the quiet pecking of chickens. You cannot see a pumpkin growing, or hear a squash ripening, but the freshly-picked apple in your hand and in your mouth is tangible proof that the earth is alive and kicking.
And that’s how seasons change. But let’s not get too philosophical. Fall is here, and it won’t last forever. So when you bite into that shiny Warren Towers apple, or pull out your rumpled sweater for the first time, enjoy fall and make it one to remember. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘