I see this time of the year as a turning point. Instead of delighting in each and every local tomato I get, today I made a sauce with a bunch of them to use them up before the abundance went bad.
Why do farmers often sell pickles and sauerkraut? It’s the same reason they are a great resource for recipes for zucchini casserole, zucchini boats, zucchini fritters, stuffed zucchini, sautéed zucchini, baked zucchini and zucchini bread. You have to figure out ways to use all that bounty.
This time of the year there are some of the crops like corn that are coming on and you will still relish every bite. But then there are other crops that have been plentiful and continue to be plentiful, like kale, or the ones like tomatoes and cucumbers that can suddenly just overwhelm you.
Too much fresh and tasty food. What a wonderful thing to deal with, right?
Since so many of the coping mechanisms for dealing with copious amounts of food include putting it away for later, you can go on enjoying it long after the harvest is just a memory. And with the delicious food we have here, everything you put away is going to taste that much better.
Since so many of the farmers here grow different crops, it is good to check out what each farmer is drowning under. Farmer Bob down on Ocean Drive might be swamped with tomatoes, and they might be submerged under apples out at Oceanside Farm on East End Road. Don and Donna Rae out at Oceanside are now selling apple cider and rhubarb juice, so you know that they will have plenty.
But those late season gems are also important to keep an eye out for. Maybe you can’t live a summer without tasting a peach, then you need to find the Wilderness Greenhouse booth at the Homer Farmers Market. Or maybe it’s the crisp celery from Willgrow Farm or the artichokes at Snowshoe Hollow Farm.
Whether you are enticed by the quantity or the rarity, now is the time to reap the benefits of summer.
The Market is open on Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m. as well as Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Ocean Drive.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.