Here in the Pacific Northwest, we go hard all summer long. We Oregonians know all too well that summer sits precariously in the year like an island amidst a sea of rainy days, and we must make the most of it. So we get lost in the heat of the season, trying to soak up every last ray of sunshine while the days are long, jumping into the river every chance we get, and eating our weight of the sweet summer fruits that we’ll soon miss so much. For us on the farm, summer is the time to, as they say, make hay while the sun shines.
But then the abundance of August gives way to September, and things begin to transition all around us. Summer produce begins its descent away from the apex of abundance, and the nights roll in with a chill that reminds us that our time on this summer island will not last forever.
Though most of us mourn summer’s decline, September really is a unique time of year when we still get to enjoy the last fruits of summer even as the fall harvest begins rolling in. Our greens that have taken a hiatus in the heat are now bursting forth with delicate new leaves, winter squash is ripening up on the vine, and the immense diversity of root vegetables that we grow are sizing up secretly beneath the earth.
Farming requires us to have our bodies in tune with the environment in a way that modern life has worked to distance us from, and to notice the cycles of transition by which we must abide. In this way life demands of us that we be present to experience it if we are to expect it to produce the abundant food that graces your plate.
There are hot times and there are cold times, times of abundance and times of famine, and even more times where the lines between these extremes are not so clear. The food in front of you today is an embodiment of transition, and the flavors to be experienced cannot be found at any other time of year or on any other place on the globe. It is regionality by the spoonful. Nowhere else at this moment will a poblano be developing its deep, mole flavor as it enters its chocolate-red state of ripeness, ready to be combined with a sweet and buttery delicata winter squash fresh from the vine. It is in these times of transition that we can literally taste summer ending while fall begins, all within a single bite. Eat up.