Harvest and Thanksgiving

Yesterday I was south of the Cities near the town of New Trier, Minnesota.  This is a beautiful farming area with an abundance of rolling hills.  The harvest has been late this year, hampered by rain and cooler temperatures.  But on this unusually sunny and warm day there was much activity in the fields — something for which many farmers were quite thankful.  As we head into the week of Thanksgiving I’m focusing on the bounty of my life and all those things I have to be thankful for:   a roof over my head and a job, plenty of good food to eat, good health, good friends, good family, and a wonderful freedom we enjoy in this country.  May we all realize the good fortune we have.

Fall apple harvest

Apple harvest 51178_StaatsOne of my favorite bounties of fall is the apple harvest.  Whether I was living in Washington state or in Minnesota, there are wonderful and delicious apples that grow in the respective regions.  This seems to have been a good year for the apple harvest in the midwest.   Although it may be a little bit later than usual, the apple trees are full with their luscious fruit.  We ventured north to the shoreline of Lake Superior this weekend nad harvested apples from an old tree belonging to a dear friend.  No one knows the type of apple, but everyone agrees that it’s excellent for cooking.  So now we’ll put up applesauce to enjoy throughout the cold winter, and we’ll enjoy apple pie and cobbler, apple muffins and turnovers.  There’s a wonderful smell wafting from our kitchen!

Concord grape harvest

Concord grapes_StaatsThe end of August signals the start of harvest time for many fruits and vegetables.  Our small garden has done well, yielding a bounty of cherry tomatoes and fragrant and delicious basil.  But over this past weekend we harvested concord grapes.  Our one large vine gave us way more grapes than I’d ever imagined.   Their sweet scent filled the kitchen as we worked.   They are a beautiful color when picked, yet once they are squeezed and the seeds removed, their juice is a rich, deep maroon color.  As careful as we were, our hands took on this same color and smell.  We now have a scrumptious concord grape sorbet in the freezer, and a collection of freezer jam waiting for us to unleash the smell of late summer when the winter snow is falling.