DEAR ‘CREEKNIKS: Do you remember the collect call? Let us explain for our Generation Z readers. A collect call was when you gave your friend or lover the privilege of hearing your voice on the phone – and the privilege of paying for it. A splendid invention from yesteryear.
Harvest season is a grand collect call. Such lovely fruits and vegetables come calling. They waltz back into our lives after a year of silence – and we accept the charges. We know the bill will come. It is called winter. The cost of seasonal food is the very changing of the seasons. But for now, in the blessed month of October, we revel in the voices. We lounge into pillow talk. We whisper sweet nothings. We blurt out, “I’ve missed you and I love you!”
You accept the charges from Brussels Sprouts! Your heart flutters. It has been a whole year since you heard from tall and slender, green-eyed Bruss. You can lop your own sprouts starting now. Growing just east of the pepper field.
Last week this sign meant, “Do not enter.” This week it means high five! Please tromp into the sprout field with the loppers and cut your stalks. They are profoundly nutritious and, given their provocative appearance, work great as party favors. You can make a fabulous entrance into any company wearing your pink boa and carrying two or three stalks.
Just watch what you say on the phone; spies are everywhere this time of year. They come in the most outlandish disguises. Prairie Spy, Northern Spy, and Spigold (left to right) are all ready for u-pick. These are brilliant pie apples that store well. Find them in Rows 16-17 of the Dwarf Orchard; red ribbons in the Vintage Orchard.
Autumn Gala is ready, too! Also a wonderful pie apple. If you enjoy Gala, featured in our caramel apples at Apple Harvest Festival, you will like Autumn Gala. It is merely a mutation that ripens later. Pick them in Row 15.
Another sneaky apple, Sir Prize. And, no surprise, terrific for pies. Very sweet and juicy. Crisp and tender. A cross between Golden Delicious and the even more mysteriously named PRI 14-152. Sir Prize is hard to find, but we grow them at The ‘Creek. Pick Sir Prize in Row 17.
Cortland continues. A fabulous fresh eater with over 119 years of New York history behind it. Does not rapidly oxidize after cutting. It retains bright white flesh, making it ideal for fruit salads, lunch boxes, and displays. Pick them on yellow-ribboned trees in the Vintage Orchard.
Pumpkin season proper. Farmer Steve predicts a mad run on the pumpkin patch this year – we will get picked out early. So don’t wait til a week before Halloween. Find your dream pumpkin in the patch or at the stand.
Last chance for tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers! We did not get the frost last weekend, so veggies keep plugging along. Time to put them up for the offseason. Pick beefsteaks, cherries, heirlooms, Romas, Marzanos, poblanos, jalapeños, cayennes, serranos, habaneros, chilis, Italian eggplants, Japanese eggplants, and fairytales. Find them all in the field above the Brussels sprouts.
Fresh-pressed cider every week. This is old-fashioned, unpasteurized Orchard Ambrosia. Get it by the gallon and half-gallon. Freezes beautifully. Also filling carboys now! Drop off your carboys inside the double doors at the farm stand with your name and phone number. We will fill them at the next pressing thereafter and give you a buzz. So to speak. Carboys are $8/gallon for 5 gallons or less, $7/gallon for 6+ gallons.
Extended donut weekend! You can get fresh apple cider donuts on all 3 days of the long holiday weekend. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 10 AM to 6 PM. Slushees will be flowing, too. And hot and cold cider. Kapow!
Last super sweet corn of the year! Down to the last few hundred ears! Crop will NOT outlast the holiday weekend crowds. Anyway people get weird about summer corn after cool October weather hits. They only want corn in a can after that.
Farmketeer of the Week: Olivia Royale, your local handcraft hatmaker! See her work at @easylivinghats – Ithaca’s own travel and adventure accessories using all natural fibers. Cute pear bag and sunflower hat pictured at The ‘Creek.
Our new buddy Bowie says, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” Actually that was Anne of Green Gables. But Bowie agrees. “It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?”
So put on your farmy flannels and accept the charges. Come kick around the orchards. Lop yourself a sprout. We are here every day from 8 o’clock til a half-hour before dark, which is sneaking up closer every day. Sneaking up like a Northern Spy. Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.