WIAW 127 – Peaches and Weather
Ah, the cool days of August!
Wait – what??
We had a slightly hotter than average July, many days in the 90’s. Several times a storm came through, dropped temperatures by 20° in less than an hour, only for them to rise again three hours later. But the last few days have stayed around or under 80° with gentle cool breezes… We opened all the windows, and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine!
It’s a real issue, though, all these swings in weather that I have written about. A few weeks ago at Greenmarket Rich went to the booth of the fruit farm where we buy much of our fruit, to look for peaches. They told him their crop had been destroyed by a freeze. Luckily for us, Greenmarket draws farmers from a wide area, with many micro-climates, so others had peaches that had survived. That doesn’t help the first farmer, though…
I didn’t mention it at first, as I didn’t know how widespread the damage was. I just read an article, though, saying that much of the peach harvest in the Northeast was lost. Back in early February, it was unseasonably warm, and trees began to bud too soon. Then a bitter cold snap hit, with much colder than normal temperatures, below 0°F. In a typical season, that would not really have hurt the dormant plants, but this year it destroyed all the too-early buds… Climate change brings unstable, unseasonable weather, and badly damages crops.
If I can’t get fresh peaches, that’s too bad, but not a big deal. If a fruit farmer loses a significant part of his crop, he may have trouble paying bills… in the worst case, trouble staying in business. That is a big deal. This is one of the dangers of mono-cropping – which has become common in industrial agriculture. The CSA farmer has spoken of the pressure on her to grow just one or two vegetables to sell to major retailers – and her reasons to choose to grow a wide variety (which is much more work) and sell to us and smaller stores (again, more work.) The fruit farmer will manage because he still has berries and cherries to sell, and the acres of apple trees are doing well (so far…) Diversity matters.
Anyhow – I wanted to remind people that this is an issue. And the peaches are a comparatively minor one. Drought-stricken farmers in California have many more worries, as do citrus farmers in Florida fighting citrus greening. Farming is a hard way to make a living…
Moving on more cheerfully – as I said, we were able to get peaches from another farm… so this time, I used them in my fruit muffin recipe. These fell apart a little. I think I need to cut the fruit smaller, especially since it is so juicy. My, they were good, though! I added a pinch of ginger… I found a source of millet flour packaged for the Indian market, and decided to try it (which is the reason these are darker than others I’ve made. I assume it is made from a different kind of millet. It’s astounding that we only see one cultivar here, when, reading Indian blogs, I see what a wide variety there really is! (Speaking of diversity…) This behaves a little differently, though, than the Bob’s Red Mill I’ve used – absorbs more liquid for one thing, and has a more assertive flavor. I like the flavor, but I won’t use it to develop recipes. I need to do that with the flour most of you can find.
And I drank a protein shake, and cold brewed coffee, with my muffins.
Lunch was (of course…) salad. No, really, I do occasionally eat other things! I should try to get a pictures when I do… But salad is glorious now. Cucumbers, bell peppers, the first tomatoes (though they were finished by Monday. Got several last night!) Several colors of carrots, thinly sliced summer squash, kohlrabi cut in matchsticks… I simply hard cook eggs a dozen at a time, they’re so handy, and I keep a container of marinated chick peas. I’ve recently seen several references to salad for lunch being “sad.” Not the ones I eat! And I accompanied this with brown rice cakes.
That is purple cauliflower in the front of the picture of dinner. I haven’t had pork chops for a while. These were browned with scallions, and braised in chicken broth, and then I cooked the yellow squash and cauliflower in the same broth. All served with the ubiquitous brown rice, of course…
Our CSA haul this week includes half a dozen cucumbers, and we still had three from last week! Time to make Health Salad, and freeze a couple. Next week I’ll probably have enough tomatoes for the first ratatouille of the season, but I can’t face cooking the few we have now. I’ll just serve them with fresh basil, or bell pepper and feta cheese.
And it is officially Be Creative with Eggplant season… The CSA farm specializes in a wide variety, so I’ll cook it a few times a week for at least the next two months. We’ll see what I come up with this year!
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