DEAR FARMKETEERS: Which one of these words does not belong? Shilly-shally, dilly-dally, helter-skelter, hoity-toity, higgledy-piggledy, pell-mell, pall-mall, zig-zag, wing-ding, ding-dong, mish-mash, argle-bargle, itsy-bitsy, easy-peasy, hanky-panky, okey-dokey, namby-pamby, bric-a-brac, flim-flam, handy-dandy, heebie-jeebies, hokey-pokey, hurdy-gurdy, loosey-goosey, twiddle-twaddle, willy-nilly, yadda-yadda. Do you know which is the oddball?
Hint: Bric-a-brac. If you guessed bric-a-brac, you’re right as usual. Bric-a-brac does not belong. It has three word-pieces instead of two. Obviously therefore bric-a-brac cannot be part of this Fresh Crop Alert. Adios, Bric-a-brac! Now let us consider the others in turn…
Heebie-jeebies. Let’s try it in a sentence. How about: “My little sister gets the heebie-jeebies when she daydreams about rabid cider donuts attacking a gentle zombie fruit farmer by the woodstove.” Fair enough, that is creepy! But it’s just a dream. There’s no such thing as zombie fruit. Anyway, you can get your freshly fried toroids of fructotic doughnutude by the dozen or half-dozen on Saturday and Sunday 10:30 to 6:00. If you want cinnamon sugar, simply whisper, “A sprinkle of SIN, SUGAR.” Nick the Donut Kid will grok your meaning. You can wash down your donuts with freshly pressed sweet cider, known around here as “Orchard Ambrosia” – 100% unpasteurized old-time juice of apples and pears. Freezes great. We’re brewing hot mulled cider, too, what with all the autumnals nipping around the ears.
Handy-dandy. You can pick your own Mutsu apples, also known as Crispin, and golly are they handy-dandy. The most versatile apple on the farm. Mutsu is a dessert apple. A pie apple. A bake-it-right-in-the-oven apple. It is the versatile little black cocktail dress of apples. Appropriate for any occasion – and irresistible with that fetching hint of Mutsu blush. Plus they get as big as pumpkins. Dad planted the Mutsu orchard back in ’84. We could rhapsodize about the Mutsus for weeks. The British call them “oven busters” since a couple of old orchard ladies could pick one giant Mutsu and bake it in the oven and split it as dessert for their afternoon stitch-n-bitch. But – as we have opined before – boys can do that, too. Ovens and stitching and b*tching aren’t just for girls. Same with dessert. And feelings. And sharing. And little black cocktail dresses. All welcome at The ‘Creek.
Hoity-toity. Yes, please DO explore our exotic, antique, and heritage apples; but, no, don’t get hoity-toity about your apple savvy. The world almost certainly does not need another self-satisfied foodie. Rather, you can adopt beginner mind in the Dwarf Orchard, where you can still pick your own Golden Russet (pictured), Roxbury Russet, Calville Blanc, Newtown Pippin, Golden Delicious and many other heritage treats. These are apples you will not find in a grocery store. They are delicious and spicy and often mysterious – prized among apple lovers and cider aficionados. Look for the heirloom rows on the orchard map, labeled as Mixed Russets, Mixed Heirlooms, Colonial Apples, and English Pippins. For some varieties, there is only one tree! Please help us harvest these gems and expand your palate in a single visit.
Higgledy-piggledy, pell-mell, helter-skelter. These words are birds of a feather. They mean jumbled or scattered or disordered. Evincing entropy. A willy-nilly mish-mash. Much like our Vintage Orchard, with Red Spy (ready now) and Rome Beauty and other classics planted all hither and thither. Please zig-zag therein unhurriedly, have a picnic, hike around. Keep your eyes peeled for red ribbons on trees with red apples. Those are the Red Spy apples – possibly the best pie apples in the Lower 48. And, yes, you can still get HONEYCRISP apples and other varieties of apples and pears at the farm stand. *Note: Some of the red ribbons have faded to pink. But they are still Red Spy.
Shilly-shally. Dilly-dally. It is October 18 – come pick your dream pumpkins now! Last year the Pumpkin Patch got picked clean well before Halloween. So the prudent picker dare not shilly-shally. Nor dilly-dally!
Boopy. Overheard in the Pumpkin Patch: “Ew mama these pumpkins are so boopy.” Thus we have an unofficial addition to the word list, courtesy of a 4-year-old Farmketeer, though we might recast it as “boopy-doopy” to fit the formula. (Lest we have to let bric-a-brac back into the fold; after all, exceptions ARE invidious.) These boopy pumpkins might make Thoreau want to rethink his famous assertion: “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” Suit yourself, pal!
Pall-mall. Every week we have to come up with a new nickname for Brussels sprouts or we die. Like a shark that has to keep swimming lest it sink to the seafloor, or Sisyphus rolling that eternal, infernal rock uphill. Last week was “Brouts” and the week before that was “Sprussel Brouts.” This week, in the spirit of compound words, we elected Brazzle-Sprozzles. Please come cut your own sprozzles – just be sure to use the loppers and CUT the whole stalk rather than picking individual sprouts off the stalk, which wrecks the plant. But what is pall-mall you ask? Well first, not to be confused with pell-mell which we discussed in lesson 4 above. Pall-mall was a popular lawn game in 16th-century England, a precursor to croquet. In a pinch you could use large brazzle-sprozzles as your pell-mell balls.
Wing-ding. Take a pan full of fresh-plucked sprouts, fry them with bacon and chopped nuts, invite your best friends, and BAM, you’ve got a wing-ding. Season the sprouts – and the guests! – with a good hard cider, just like wine or sherry. The wing-ding pros at Eve’s Cidery taught us that.
Ding-dong! That’s the ALARM BELL telling you it’s time to plan your spring garden – and get deluxe seed garlic this weekend. Special seed garlic sale! Our neighbor Paul will be selling his organically grown garlic bulbs at the farm stand Saturday, October 19, 10:00 to 5:00. You can find the likes of Georgia Fire, Italian Easy Peel, Tochliavri, Persian Star, Romanian Red, Chesnok Red, Georgia Crystal, and others. Soft necks and hard necks. Large bulbs and cold-hardy. Paul has grown these lines of garlic for over 10 years in his home garden on Indian Creek Road. Come support a local gardener and get your own garlic patch planted! He will also have utility garlic for sale and specials at his table. You can contact him at (607) 279-4866 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Itsy-bitsy. You only need to taste an itsy-bitsy slice of fresh ginger root to be a convert for life. Good enough to eat fresh, not to mention bringing life to your cooking creations. Same with the fresh turmeric root. Sharon and Dean from TreeGate Farm around the corner have been delighting farm fans with these tropical roots grown here in the Finger Lakes. Same deal with Cal’s radishes grown here at The ‘Creek – 5 kinds now available at the farm stand and they add proper zing to your noshings. Also last chance to pick peppers (sweet and hot) and possibly score the last tomatoes on the farm.
Hurdy-gurdy, hokey-pokey. When Bowie is not doing flower tricks, he plays the hurdy-gurdy and does the hokey-pokey. You can still cut your own flowers by the bouquet or 5-gallon bucket (bring your own bucket). Could be the final week for flowers. Also, bring your own bags for apple picking and shopping – or get our reusable farm totes. No more single-use plastic bags on the farm!
Easy-peasy! Kids at Belle Sherman Elementary School painted pumpkins during their International Harvest Festival. See, kids, it’s not so hard once you get started. Easy-peasy. We sent a trunkload of gourds to support the party. Thank you.
Love to y’all. Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.