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Farmer’s Market Post: What Season Is This, Anyway?

I bet you thought this post would be about wedding cakes.  Nope.  Not this time.  It turns out that after living and breathing and, of course, baking wedding cakes for most of the last week, I am really, really over baking right now.  Indeed, I even went so far as to make a raw vegetable korma with cauliflower rice for dinner tonight (from Amber Shea’s book Practically Raw, which I’ve just got my hands on, and on the basis of two recipes, am already willing to recommend.  Though I should probably make a few more recipes before reviewing it…).

Halley’s pumpkin last orbited Melbourne in 2012. While it could not be viewed without binoculars on the current pass, its appearance in 2011 was so startling as to make viewers believe that it might collide with the broccoli, sowing destruction and cabbage moths in its wake.

Anyway.  Since I am currently all about the Raw Vegetables Dear God No Don’t Make Me Bake Anything, and since I had a whole bunch of farmers’ market photos from last weekend waiting to be annotated, you are getting the belated farmers’ market post instead.  But never fear – there will be cake recipes aplenty in the next week or two.

The pies have it. Especially the venison ones, which compel me to make awful jokes about dough, a deer. (Sorry. That was rather ill-bread of me. Sometimes a pun occurs to me and I just can’t help but rise to the occasion…)
Any apology I make at this point isn’t going to be very convincing, is it?  Perhaps I should just state, with no further embellishment, that this illustration depicts olive bread, rhubarb pie, venison pies and more cookie dough than I strictly need.  Or knead, as the case may be.  Sorry, I really wasn’t going to make more puns but that one was just *there*, looking at me, with sad punny eyes and I had no choice…

Also, this particular farmers’ market post is going to be quite whimsical, as I am more than usually tired and keep going off on tangents.  Can you tell? (NB: I could actually have made more puns than that, but I restrained myself.  Actually, that is totally untrue, what actually happened was that WordPress wouldn’t let me add any more silliness to that caption.  Even WordPress, apparently, has its limits.)

Anyway, back to the point of this post.  (It has a point? I hear you ask?  Why yes, yes it does… Sadly, I’ve now forgotten what that point is…)

Gnocchi and fettucine. It kills me that I can’t think of anything witty to say about this picture, so I’ll just note that I once saw fettucine spelled ‘fetacheni’ on a menu and refused to eat in that restaurant on the basis that if they couldn’t spell it, I didn’t trust them to cook it. This may not be a sound rule, but so far it’s worked OK for me (I am not the person who goes around correcting grocers’ apostrophes on signs, but I admit to a lot of sympathy for that person).

Dear Melbourne,

You know I love your eccentric weather and your tendency to treat climate as an option rather than a directive. And I think your six seasons are pretty cool. And your short attention span and ability to randomly produce snow in the Dandenongs on Christmas Day is possibly the best thing any city has ever done, ever.

But I must admit to some confusion. You see, this is August. In theory, at least, we should be getting ready for Spring. You know, the season with all the bright green leafy things, peas, asparagus, all that stuff. And, actually, around about now, I wouldn’t be expecting a huge range of vegetables at all.

So, my beloved city, why are we having pumpkins? And mushrooms? And venison? And so many different kinds of nuts? Is this a new era in seasonal iconoclasm, or were you just feeling bored? And – dare I ask – what may we expect from September?

Is spring really on its way?  Really?

Yours with all affection,

Catherine

PS – Thanks for the blood oranges!  I can never have too many of those.

PPS – Of course, I liked all the green leafy vegetables too, though they were very much in the wintry vein.  Not a complaint, just puzzled.

Leeks, kale, spinach, bok choi, broccoli. It’s definitely not spring in green leafy vegetable land. And it’s actually kind of freezing at present, so I wouldn’t expect spring, really. Hey, look, this caption is actually kind of descriptive and normal and pun-free!  Don’t worry, it can’t possibly last.

Yeah, I really don’t know what Melbourne is doing this year.  Though one thing Farmers’ Markets have taught me is that we don’t, actually, have the reversed Northern Hemisphere / Mediterranean climate they taught us about in primary school, at least as far as growing seasons are concerned.  (Exhibit A: jonquils and daffodils in May and June) We don’t have the same ones, either (which makes eating seasonally something that really has to be done by observation, as books tend to be a bit useless for this).

Hazelnuts, and nutcracker, since it turns out that I didn’t actually have one. I do, however, have DVDs of *two* productions of the ballet by Tchaikovsky. One of them is exceedingly pink, and the other is strange and scary and colourful and modern. Neither of them are much use for cracking open hazelnut shells, however.

A pagan friend once told me that, while some pagans reverse their festivals so that the summer festivals match our summer, others keep the northern hemisphere festivals, because summer for us is as deadly as winter is in the north… except, we still do get all the summer fruits and vegetables on schedule.  Sort of.  Right now, it seems to be strawberry season *somewhere*, if supermarket prices are anything to go by.

Egg moths are a particularly problematic pest in the early months, as they land on young plants and squash them to death, much like Mayhem with a strawberry bush. Their only known predator is the pumpkin bug, which will, if hungry, eat egg-moths, but would much rather lurk in your guttering and leap on you from above as you leave the house. Approximately twelve people die each year from pumpkin bug bites, though they are only venomous if you have eaten purple carrots in the past 24 hours (the anthocyanins in the carrots react with the pumpkin bug venom to cause a fatal reaction). Zombification is a more common side effect, but can be cured by rapid application of egg-moth juice to the wound. You see the problem here, don’t you…?

This seems to be turning into a rambling peroration on Melbourne’s climate (not to mention more than usually weird photo captions.  I have no idea where this is even coming from.).  Not exactly food blog material.  Except that, really, climate does form our food choices on a fairly basic level.  And, also, it’s my blog and I really do love Melbourne’s weather (custom not yet having staled her infinite variety, I doubt that it is likely to do so).

Named for its discoverer, Herschel’s Pumpkin (P/1786 P1) was first observed in 1786 by singer and astronomer Caroline Herschel, who then mathematically calculated the radius of blood oranges associated with the pumpkin’s tail. Actually, Caroline Herschell was pretty impressive on many counts and deserves more than a pumpkin in her honour. She has several actual comets named for her too.

There was, in fact, beautiful food at the farmers’ market this week, despite swapping over to the fortnight where hardly of my favourite vegetable people are around.  And despite the fact that it was all autumn food.

Hazelnut. Still less nutty than the author of this post. But quite autumnal, nevertheless

Oh, what the hell – this post is all about Melbourne’s climate anyway.  I might as well close with a sonnet I wrote a few years ago in honour of Melbourne’s weather.  After all, it isn’t as though Melbourne’s weather has changed – or rather, it has, but the constancy of change is Melbourne’s great charm.

To Melbourne

City of many seasons, many moods
Of winter heatwaves and of summer floods
Who would change dull, fixed, seasonality
For your infinite, sweet, inconstancy?
No human art can ever guess your will
Nor nights nor dawns predict the day ahead
It tells us nothing if your skies are red
You are too whimsical for all our skill.
So, lovingly, your livery I don:
Sunscreen, umbrella, T-shirt, gumboots, coat –
And smile at forecasts, taking little note
As gaily you send hail… or wind… or sun.
Let others sigh for Climate’s ordered laws:
I’ll live my life under no skies but yours.

A flower among vegetables: kale, bok choi, carrots, broccoli, blood oranges, and pumpkins large and small

That hasn’t changed, either.

Nope. I’ve run out of steam. You’ll just have to caption this one yourselves. Suggestions are welcome!

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This time last year…

Speculating on dried cherries

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5 responses to “Farmer’s Market Post: What Season Is This, Anyway?

  1. As cousin Keats commented, your post is indeed a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

    🙂

  2. love your sonnet – today was just a perfect melbourne day – gloriously sunny and gloomy thunderstorms!

    • Thank you! Wasn’t today fabulous? I love the way it thundered and hailed and gusted and then half an hour later was bright and clear and sunny and calm and basically going “What storm? No storm here! I never storm!”. It made me very happy.

  3. Synchronicity: I used the venison pie pun yesterday. ( had venison ragu and green olive butter gnocci.)

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