I worked a WW meeting this morning, and planned a trip to a local orchard with my parents after the meeting. The orchard is not too far over the state line into North Carolina.
After stopping for lunch, it was onto the orchard. It's called Sky Top Orchard and believe you me, it is. We got 3 half-peck bags of different varieties -- Mom loves Red Delicious (which is my very least favorite; too soft for me!). Dad & I picked out Jonagold (for eating) and Winesap (for cooking). They had plenty of others: Cortland, Ida Red, Golden Delicious, Mutsu (a green apple), and I think even a couple of others. The only kind of apple the orchard didn't have was Honeycrisp -- which is my 2nd favorite kind, and had already been fully harvested for the season. Luckily, my VERY favorite variety (Pink Lady) won't be ready until mid-October. You better believe that in 3 weeks, I'm going back for some! They will also have Arkansas Black, which also are good for cooking/baking. Now we just have to figure out how to freeze the apples we don't eat right away. Mom has found her old Betty Crocker cookbook (red & black & white gingham-like cover) from the '60s and it offers suggestions. We also got a half-gallon of cider; yummo, because there's nothing I love more than hot cider!
The other thing that made me sad was that their "picking table" online had Asian pears listed for September..... but no AP's to be found. I purely LOVE Asian pears, and they're getting harder to find. I may have to just pay the piper at the supermarket for a whole bunch and hang on for dear life!
From the orchard, we went on to the Asheville Farmer's Market. Dad wanted to find some figs for preserves before they're totally out of season. He found 3 pints; that was IT. There are apples galore there too -- quite a few from the nearby orchards, but it was more fun to go to the actual orchard itself to get them. And they had my Honeycrisps. I got a few -- and then got them home and weighed them. Holy God, these EACH weigh 12 oz. A three-quarter pound single apple? SHEESH! And I picked some of the smaller ones in the box. Yow.
I also went looking for a butternut squash to cube and use for soup, etc. Found one that was fairly large, and on sale: 89c a pound. The guy rings me up and says, "That's $5.80-something." Yeah, I bought a flipping SIX-POUND squash. Good Lord!!! So needless to say, I'm looking up butternut squash recipes online -- other than soup; got one for that. I just found a good one for .... ready? Butternut Squash and Apple Bake. I'm so there!!! I already have everything I need..............
Tomorrow, I'm making a crock-pot minestrone for dinner and hopefully will have some left over for work this week. I have some pumpkin soup that I made last week that's in the freezer, so that will be put to good use, too.
Suzy Homemaker Strikes Again
Now, one of the things I have discovered about myself of late is that I really do enjoy cooking, and even larger-batch cooking for freezing and keeping for meals all week. I enjoy meals out -- after all, any meal you don't have to cook is a good one, right? Still, after a while, it gets old.
For years, a friend and I have joked about my "control issues." But you know, cooking my own food, making my own meals, and setting my own portions gives me the control I desire over what fuels my body and my life. And I am finding that I truly enjoy the kitchen.
Cooking connects you to the very essence of life on earth -- how we get sustenance from the land, how we need to properly nurture things, and how we enhance what goes into us, and what comes forth from us. It makes you realize how fragile the web is, and yet how very strong too. It shows how tightly our life and the world and the environment and our bodies are interwoven, and need to be connected to each other. There's an element of sacrifice and giving for something greater -- the soil sacrifices its nutrients to help grow the food. The food sacrifices itself to fuel us..... what are we sacrificing to give back to this process?