Inspired by recent letters from family and friends describing this season's gardening affairs, I thought it fitting to share some of the highlights:
~Dilly bean love, sent to me by my dear friend Suzy in Washington State (the same Suzy to influence the previous sesame kale post). The red pepper hearts are just precious.
~From my brother's family garden in Colorado. His letter reads: "Thought you would be proud of today's haul. The tomatoes are like candy, my new favorite snack and the kids eat cucumbers for snack every day with ranch. We have had a great year. Peas are done and second crop is poking up. Edamame is about ready, lettuce was completely out of control, we gave away 20+ shopping bags of it, beets look good, carrots are thin we lost about half but they are big and good and the onions are amazing. Our corn will be ready in a week or two and the grapes look rad. I am expanding the garden for next fall to include a potato patch and two 40ft rows of corn plus berries!"
~A thrilling report from my lovely friend Dana here in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina: "I am on this simple salad kick- had it for dinner last night and just now for lunch: fresh cut tomato, fresh basil (used as a green vegetable), fresh cut cucumber, fancy salt of some sort, olive oil drizzled over the whole thing and then the whole thing tossed with chunks of goat chevre.
This morning I planted beets, lettuce, spinach, chives and cilantro for fall eating. I am getting the biggest kick out of eating fresh from my own garden. My celery is thriving from all the rain, and I have carrots coming up. As soon as they come at the nursery, I am going to plant fall yellow onion sets. I am pumped to get on making some garden fresh stock this winter. Maybe I can get a deer shank bone or 2 from my neighbor to drive it home. It will be like the rug that really ties the room together... Anyways, holler back. Let me know if you are grooving out to any food that I need to know about. Also, look for me and paw paws in about a month."
~Mushroom news from my foraging brother-in-law Chris, in Pennsylvania, who clearly has some sort of supernatural brothership with wild mushrooms. He brought home a stash just about every day last week while I was visiting. He made an unbelievable wild mushroom gravy to go with our meatloaf one evening. I could have drank the stuff. Today's finds include: chanterelles, cinnabar reds, chicken mushrooms and indigo milky. Heaven on earth.
~A note from my friend Kevin:
Wish my great-uncle Ross MacDonald could see this two-gallon bag of Kentucky Wonder pole beans picked today, the first I've ever had any real luck growing here. He was always the master gardener back in Montezuma Iowa, and in the 50's-60's I fondly recall sneaking with my brothers down to the cool, dark cellar below the kitchen where the rows of mysterious jars, the boxes of apples and potatoes and the coal bin were another world to suburban kids, and welcoming, too. -K