At last week’s Zucchini Festival, Dave Aplin gave a sincere moment of gratitude to the main sponsors of the Homer Farmers Market: The Sun and The Precipitation.
Then, he warned the audience of the upcoming thrills and spills of the Zucchini Races. Then, he introduced the Zucchini Queenie, Beth Schroer, who led the racers in a parade around the market before the thrills and spills began.
After everyone got their prizes and the zucchini cars, whole or in pieces, were toted off, the announcements were made for the winners of the largest veggie contest. There were giant beans, peas, carrots, broccoli, squash, onions, garlic and, of course, zucchinis.
The largest zucchini weighed in at 14.1 pounds.
The fact is, this is the time of the year for big veggies. Celebrations are the way we have honored The Sun and The Precipitation for contributing to this bounty for centuries. (I’m sure the Zucchini Festival dates back to ancient times.)
But besides fun, there is also the work of putting this food away.
I could go on and on about ways to freeze, can, store and otherwise preserve veggies, but there is a crucial part that has to happen first. The harvest. You have to get that veggie to the kitchen so you can eat it or preserve it at the peak of freshness. Did that veggie get big because your soil is great or because you were too busy to get it harvested when it was smaller?
If you don’t have veggies in your own garden getting ahead of you with all this great weather, you can still harvest local produce. You can help out a farmer like Bob Durr (the guy with the winning giant zucchini) who runs a U-Pick on his farm. Give him a call (235-8511) and then head out to his place to fill your bags with veggies ranging from beans to zucchinis and pay by the pound.
Or head on down to the Market on Ocean Drive between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. this Saturday or from 3-6 p.m. Wednesday and you’ll find what your local farmers have already harvested for you.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and one of the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fans.