Feel that? That crisp, chilly breeze that’s been swirling around us lately, filling our heads with the hope of golden-leafed, sweater-clad, apple-cinnamon-infused autumn days? Seems everyone is getting antsy for cooler weather and festive décor, but as we relish in this first taste of fall, stop for a minute and realize what is really happening here... Summer as we know it is slipping through our fingertips. And we don’t even care!
In a matter of weeks, we’ll all be welcoming spiced candles, wax leaf wreathes and warm hues into our homes with wide, goofy grins. We’ll happily pack up our sandals and swimsuits and replace them with the scarves and boots we’ve been waiting all year to don. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we’ll start each brisk morning with silky, frizz-free hair and Starbucks pumpkin lattés and we’ll go for rosy-cheeked walks around our neighborhoods. And we’ll be happy.
But before long, brisk will turn into downright cold. The snow will fall. The ice will creep over our windshields. The heaters will eat away at our shopping funds. Our husbands will stab us with icy toes and our parched knuckles and lips will chap until they crack. There we’ll be, scuffing across frigid kitchen floors on three pairs of wool socks with afghan-draped shoulders to fumble through canned peaches and peas, in hopes of a decent dinner that doesn’t involve braving a blizzard.
And just as we're tempted to take a bite of our holiday beaded faux fruit, we’ll realize how precious those last few days of summer really were and how wistfully we wasted them. Those days when fresh, vibrant fruit filled our bowls and dinner meant something sizzling on the grill instead of caked in a casserole dish.
So hold on to summer, people! It will be long gone soon enough. Then we can buy our pumpkins and gourds and embrace fall with open arms. But for now, I’m not yet done with zucchinis and watermelons and pots of fragrant herbs. And I am certainly not done with my dear farmer’s market.
Where else can you find yourself riffling through baskets of fresh plucked peaches one minute, and the next, a bin of vintage scarves? Detroit's Eastern Market, to be exact, is the lovely place I finally discovered this summer. I went for peaches and blueberries and came back with four armfuls of goodies, some of which I wasn't sure what to do with (zucchini), some I wasn't sure if I even liked (radishes), and some bought out of pure guilty nostalgia (orange blossom honey, which I bought from the sweetest old beekeeper who reminded me of my grandpa, even though the stand two feet away sold the stuff for less. I'm a sucker).
And what to do with four armfuls of fruits and veggies? Become vegetarian, of course, at least for a while. That weekend, I was enslaved to the kitchen, making avocado-radish salad (turns out I do love radishes), grilled corn with lime butter, wild mushroom quesadillas, homemade hummus and salsa, two huge fruit salads and fried, golden zucchini.
Orange blossom honey, by the way, was perfect combined with lime and fresh ginger for this amazing hold-on-to-what-you-got summer fruit salad. Sweet and tangy with a little kick, the sauce really takes juicy peaches, plump blueberries and sliced green grapes to a whole new level of deliciousness. For the perfect summer afternoon, I have an inkling this salad would be awesome served up with a nice grilled pork chop and a glass of sangria.
So, don't jump into fall prematurely, folks. Soak up every last drop of summer. Keep the lemonade flowing. Keep the grill grilling. Take advantage of every fruit and vegetable before it goes out of season.
Although, I must admit...all this talk about fall is making me want to bust out just one glittery pumpkin for the bookshelf. And just a little candy corn isn't going to spoil summer all that bad. And what's so wrong with burning a few cinnamon candles and wearing a few scarves and breaking in my brown suede boots and all my fuzzy sweaters and...
...so it begins.
Fresh Fruit Salad with Honey Ginger Lime Sauce
Marie Meyer, Greensboro, NC, Cooking Light, JUNE 2006
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 cups sliced peeled peaches (about 2)
1 cup blueberries
1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
Preparation: Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine peaches, blueberries, and grapes in a bowl. Drizzle juice mixture over fruit mixture; toss gently to coat. Chill at least 1 hour.
Nutritional Information: Calories: 53 (3% from fat) Fat: 0.2g (sat 0.0g,mono 0.0g,poly 0.1g), Protein: 0.7g, Carbohydrate: 13.8g, Fiber: 1.3g, Cholesterol: 0.0mg, Iron: 0.3mg, Sodium: 1mg, Calcium: 6mg.