Changing Seasons: Fall vs. Summer Harvesting

The changing of the seasons means the varieties available in your garden are changing, too.

| Fall 2012

  • Emilee and her daughter collect the abundance of eggplant that grew for them this year. The Gettles preserved most, but even made cakes and noodles from the baskets-full.
    Photo courtesy of
  • "Our eggplant harvest this year was out of this world. Fengyuan Purple, a Taiwanese heirloom, has won a place on our table time and time again!"
    Photo courtesy of

Dear friends,

I don't know about where you live, but it has been so incredibly hot this summer. Our once-green pastures have turned to brown. Besides the sounds of crickets and frogs, an evening stroll through the pasture is also accompanied by a tell-tale crunching sound that farmers dread.

Thankfully, we worked hard to set up drip-lines before the drought hit. Our plants did well considering the heat and lack of rain. For the past several months, we have been enjoying mouth-watering heirloom tomatoes and juicy watermelons.

Our eggplant harvest has been simply outstanding. I hate to waste food, so the bushel baskets of eggplants forced me to be rather inventive when it comes to preserving them. We have dehydrated it, frozen it, canned it, made it into cake, and used it as a replacement for noodles in lasagna! Thankfully, as the seasons change, we get to enjoy a whole new variety of vegetables and fruit in our gardens. I absolutely adore winter squash and after this feast of eggplant, I am so ready to trade in my eggplant cake for a thick slice of pumpkin pie.

When I think of autumn not only does winter squash pop into my mind but also delicious apples. When Jere and I first got married, we planted several heirloom fruit trees on our farm. This is the first year that we have been able to enjoy the fruits of our labor. I can't tell you how satisfying it is to watch the fruit ripen and then finally to see my daughter Sasha pick an apple from a tree that we planted.

It's amazing to realize through the process of gardening and cooking with heirlooms that we are preserving our agricultural heritage. I challenge you to name another historic preservation process that tastes so good! Talk about fringe benefits! I suppose that is just one more reason why I'm simply smitten with heirlooms.



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