Our Environment: Fall Fruit and Vegetables in New England, by Scott Turner
Sunday, October 28, 2018
We were in Southern New Hampshire, celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary, visiting farm stands and state parks.
Rainfall brought on the autumn crops, said Beth, who worked behind the counter. Lettuce was the only vegetative victim of the moisture, with several varieties rotting in the field, she said.
At Rosaly’s we found so many types of fruits, vegetables and flowers that the stand looked like a late-harvest museum. Also, we got a kick out of the veggie and fruit names such as sweet dumpling squash, cha-cha green kabocha squash, lunchbox peppers, indigo kumquat tomatoes and pinto gold fingerling potatoes.
Posters touted low-price bulk orders—bushels—of squash and potatoes for root cellars. A root cellar employs earth’s natural cooling, insulating, and humidifying properties to store food through the winter months. It denotes a closer-to-the-land life, as did the outhouse at Rosaly’s, situated beneath a row of trees. The clean, fresh, little building was outfitted with toilet paper in a plastic box to keep chipmunks from shredding it, and aromatic cedar chips for odor control.
On that sunny morning, you could see brilliant tree colors beyond the farm’s fields. The foliage looked like fruity cereal. In the foreground stretched rows of Rosaly’s zinnias in pink, red, orange, yellow, white, as well as assorted blends and shades.
We filled the car with local peaches, apples, carrots, corn, squash, shallots, peppers and more (such as a freshly baked berry pie). Yes, peaches were still arriving from area orchards, Beth said.
That afternoon, we hiked up a rocky and very wet trail through hardwoods and conifers toward the top of Mount Monadnock. But we were just strolling, so despite the richness of the dense woods, lush in yellow birch, hemlock and ferns, we meandered back down to the car after climbing just a quarter mile.
The next morning in N.H.—still not looking to hike much—we drove up to the summit of nearby Pack Monadnock. The air was chilly and waves of misty fog floated past.
Atop this high point, the visibility was maybe 100 feet. There were few people up there among the spruce, mountain ash and slabs of granite, and we enjoyed the tranquility.
Our favorite moment was when we heard birds chipping from within the fog-shrouded spruce. Karen pointed to movement on the lower branches. We watched a tiny, wing-flicking songbird—a quarter-ounce-weighing, smaller-than-a-chickadee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet emerge from the mist before flitting back into the foggy foliage.
Before heading home to Providence, we re-visited Rosaly’s, in part, to replace what we had already eaten (peaches, apples, and cherry tomatoes).
This time, gray skies muted the colors. Autumnal moisture drew a rich smell from the soil, and we found somewhat different produce selections—fewer pumpkins, but more potatoes, for instance.
Although the growing season winds down in autumn, some fall crops (apples, squash, pumpkins and more) explode in September and October. This is also true for the fare of winged and four-legged fauna, with first frosts often softening and sweetening wild fruit, such as crabapples, for creatures to devour.
If your senses--sight, sound, and smell—are locked in, you will find that the landscape changes nonstop, revealing something new with each visit.
I think that the same is true for relationships. If your emotional senses are sharpened and in-sync, then you will find that daily interactions are rich in words, gestures and actions. Like a spectacular sighting on a mountaintop, these are moments at which to marvel, too.