Monday, September 14, 2009

Fall is here, report from NJ

Farmstand in Raymertown, NY
(photo from Raymertown, New York State, by LS, more photos here)

I love the farm stands you find here in the USA. We had nothing like this in Sweden that I can remember. Small growers selling their vegetables along the road, and sometimes just with a box where you put the money and take what you want. Gorgeous sweet tomatoes, heavy butternut squashes, great potatoes and fuzzy peaches - all local and family-produced. Long live farming!

I just read that 9 more million Americans have put in a vegetable garden in the last two years, and the seed companies are selling more seed than ever. People are coming 'back to garden', and it is wonderful. Our garden has suffered this summer, but we got som great beets, tomatoes, peppers, and basil. As usual we are under attack from weeds and animals that want to eat everything, and the worst weed this year is the morning glories that want to take over. Our concord grape is out of control too - that needs to be moved outside of the garden and up on a pergola or something so the deers can't eat it. They reach everything up to 4 feet (1.2 m).

Yesterday our heroic work was to move a new large deck door (2 glass doors in a frame), up on the deck for further installation. It took all 4 of us and was incredibly hard work since it was so large and heavy, but we did it! And the big grass mover broke when LA was using it (not his fault), so he had to use the push mower instead and got a big workout. I made tomato sauce from our tomatoes, and PP made bison chili for dinner tonight - I bet it will be heavenly.

I like fall because the air is clearer, the pressing humidity is gone, and the garden is still abundant and wonderful with sunflowers and pink dragonmouth flowering. The hummingbirds are here but flying south, and for some reason the crows go crazy every morning. It will still be green in the forests for another month, but you can see some plants turning reddish already, mainly the dogwoods and poison ivy. We probably had the rainiest and coldest summer since I moved here, but I don't mind much.

AREA is raising two monarch butterflies on the porch and they will hatch very soon so she can let them go and we hope they make it to Central America. Their pupas are amazing, bright green with gold dots on them. It looks like real gold. Insects are the gem stones of the animal world.


PP said...

Farmstands....doesn't every country have them? I have grown up with farmstands. One of my fondest memories is going to the nearby stand with my dad to get sweetcorn on a summer evening. We would drive the couple miles there and pick out the corn, my dad always picked the corn, then we would get back home and I would shuck it. I always drive out of the way to go to farmstands, esp. a favorite one. Some have a variety of things for sale and some one a few or even just one. One of my favorites in Ohio where I grew up had only apples and cider. We would stop and buy a few kinds of apples and or course cider, usually 2 1/2 gallons. One would be kept in our frig and one my dad would leave out of the porch to ferment.

There are busy farmstands that operate almost like a business, big parking lots, lots of different stuff for sale, and real cash registers or even ones that take "plastic". Then there are the small family ones on lonely country roads where the kids struggle to make change. There might be just enough room to just pull off the road and they maybe have only one or two things for sale, but nearly always sweetcorn, no stand worth it's salt does not have sweetcorn! Finally there are the "honor" stands, just a selection of fruits and vegetables and a box to put your money. Sadly the one we recently stopped at had the box locked, so you can not make change. They did, however price everything in even numbers so you could pay in whole bills, no coins. I love farmstands!

LS said...

I don't think Sweden have farmstands, at least not recently. I remember coming to NJ for the first time and loving them. When I grew up in Sweden there was a market every Saturday on the town square where you could buy produce, berries, and such, but we never went there. Some large farms had farm stores where they sold eggs and such, but nothing like America's farmstands along the road. It is very strange, why no farmstands in Sweden? I have seen them in Uzbekistan, France, Switzerland, Turkey, Tanzania...

I love to hear your stories from Ohio, PP! Did you get to taste the fermented cider?

I am very happy the honor system works here, and we have it right here were we live. I am not sure it would work in Sweden, I have a feeling the money box would be gone sooner there than here.

Olle said...

We certainly have farmer's markets here in the UK. And in our village the vegetable shop sells vegetables and potatoes from his own fields, besides cheap flowers.

In Sweden you see them only on certain days when they sell on the squares in many places (some of it is home-grown, others is just small-scale shops which buy from big wholesale markets. And in season you can pick strawberries and similar from the fields at low cost.