Monday, November 16, 2009

The Harvest Is Nearing Its End

It was a tough summer for gardens.  My little experiment on my back patio was quite a disappointment.  Our grand old ash tree that shades the patio provides a quaint intimacy for dinner parties on a bricked-in, high-walled patio but it shaded my little peppers, cucumber, strawberries and tomatoes a bit too much.  I think at peak summer light, I was getting about an hour and a half of sunlight. 

My Chicago Avenue community garden plot was a whole different story.  Zucchini, beans, peas, peppers, tomatoes, swiss chard, spinach, basil, basil, basil, we had a bit of abundance starting in early July.  But regardless of where your garden was, wasn't it a hard summer?  I heard tragic stories of green tomatoes never turning red with our rainy cold August.  Deer attacked a meticulously tended patch up on the North Shore and those tomatoes definitely never had a chance.  Beef steak grew to the size of plum varieties and quit.  Lost potential.

I've written an awful lot lately about processes, cycles and seasons.  There is something wonderful about having a time for this and then having a time for that.  Last week, I sent all my little plants, those that had given me plenty of flavors and calories to play with and those that withered in the dark, damp patio back into the ground.  There they will rest and contribute to the soil that served them this summer.  Next spring we'll have another chance.  In the meantime, I'll pour over seed catalogs.  Study up on what, if any, fruit bearing plants grow well in the shade.  And I'll tend them better next year.  I've learned lessons about watering, dedication to the ground and trying not to force my silly plants to grow where they want to.  Isn't that just a helpful image for this year?  Yes my friend, we have lots of potential and most of us have the gift to see that potential before us.  But just because you see it, doesn't mean it'll grow there.  Just because you seized that opportunity, doesn't mean that it worked out, just this time.  Never fear my love.  You'll have another chance next spring.  The warm gusts of March will blow those golden leaves right off of your beds and you'll see new potential there that you hadn't seen before.  And it will grow.

 Fall Harvest Bread
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
2 T white sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 c milk
1/4 c applesauce
1 T canola oil

1/2 can pumpkin puree
1/2 bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 c chopped pecans
1 apple, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 350.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, spices, salt and soda.  Set aside.  In a large bowl blend together sugar, milk, applesauce and canola oil.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add dry ingredients to wet, 1 cup at a time.  Fold in pumpkin puree, cranberries, pecans and apple.  Pour into a 5x9 pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

I like to make two at once to share with friends.

adapted from Good Things Catered


  1. This stuff is DELICIOUS. Two morning in a row we've had hearty pieces, warmed in the oven with just a little bit of butter and some yogurt on the side. Perfection.

  2. so i bought sweet potatoes and am going to make either fries or something else yummy...:) this is me experimenting with food...:) aren't you proud?