One morning, you look out over your garden and containers and swell with pride at all you managed to grow and harvest this season. In spite of pitiful rainfalls this summer, we’ve been harvesting a steady supply of ripening tomatoes, peppers as they turn red, eggplant, chard and the expanding rows of fall crops in our low tunnel. It’s been such a delight to step outside with my produce basket and gather up those tasty offerings each day. And then, one day, it’s all gone. Not ‘critter ate’ gone. Just. Done. Dried up. Tired. It’s as if by moving from September to October you cross that invisible line of some sort that tells you garden season may be over…for this year at least.
So: tomatoes all played out? Here are some ideas for those tired and droopy plants. I know we just can’t stand the thought of waiting another 10 months for these lovelies, but just think: you now you have space for some winter crops.
There is still time to save seeds from the crops you have left. Here are some of the ways to save tomato seeds. Large seeds like pumpkins, butternut squash, etc., are easy. Remove the seeds and pulp from one of your finest, rinse and clean the pulp, spread out seeds on a plate or parchment paper and let dry completely. Then seal in a clean jar and keep cool till next season. Don’t forget to date and label.
This is a great site for learning how to save seeds. The Market also has several books on seed saving for you to browse at our Information Booth. If you are a “Friend of the Market,” you may check them out from our library.
One food I experienced while teaching in Bulgaria several years ago was leutinitza or leutinitsa. It’s their idea of an end-of-the-season collaboration between the last tomatoes, roasted red peppers (Hungarian types,) roasted eggplant and a long simmer on the stove. OMG! I made a batch from a recipe gifted to me by one of my students handwritten by her grandmother and translated into English just for me. I guess you can say I use a ‘family secret recipe’ for my version. (And, NO, I’m not sharing.) I will, however, offer a great video from Bulgaria of a couple making leutinitsa so you can see why it’s such a favorite with Bulgarians. Although time consuming, it is so worth it. Serve it on thick rye bread from Backwoods Bakery, of course, or with a slice of cheese or on eggs (farm fresh from our vendors) or any number of other ways. It’s so delicious and the flavors of all those roasted veggies is heavenly.
Got a favorite fall recipe you are willing to share? Send them in and we’ll post them on our website.
Saturday, October 8th is Octoberfest and our monthly fundraiser, Market Feast. Come down and enjoy Worley Farms bratwurst on Backwoods Bakery bread and then pick up a glass of home-town brewed ginger ‘ale’ from Innovation Brewing. It’s going to be another glorious day in the mountains at the Market and we hope to see you.
Afterwards, head up the Blue Ridge to enjoy October’s tapestry of leaves and see them at their peak.