Summer in Review

I’m sitting on the deck at our new house, feeling fall between my toes. They didn’t see much sand this summer — unless watching other people vacation on Instagram counts — but I’m OK with that. I did other things.

There was the aforementioned purchase of our first house in good ole’ Northern Virginia, which basically took up all of July and August. In case becoming a mother last year didn’t seal the deal on officially being an adult, I guess that drives the nail into the getting-older coffin (too dramatic?).

Summer highlights? I got to hang out with some female food icons in Minneapolis for this story for The Post, went to Europe, and was somehow included on a 50-under-50 list of “Innovative leaders transforming metro DC’s food system.”  And, most importantly, this month, my baby turned ONE.

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Which brings me back to — when did it become September and not summer?

Last night, I invited (drug?) a friend over to finally can some crushed tomatoes. Farmer Jesús assures me he’ll have tomatoes into October, but I just can’t imagine canning them that late. Peak flavor already feels long gone. Isn’t it amazing how you can crave a tomato so badly in the winter and spring only to become sick of them by mid-July?

“Oh, I guess I’ll make another gazpacho just to use them up,” and other things I said last summer when I was 8 months pregnant and tired of the never-ending stream of tomatoes coming from my CSA share. Actually, I was just tired of being pregnant and the tomatoes were an easy whipping post.

Speaking of tomatoes and food you feel like wasting midsummer but regret not preserving midwinter (how’s that for a segue?), there’s a great event coming up this weekend to kick you and your canning pot into gear.

I had the pleasure of a little preview of the Accokeek Foundation’s Food for Thought Festival, coming up this Saturday — and it’s a must-attend. Not only are they bringing out the foremost author on food waste, Jonathan Bloom, and several other local panelists, but this nimble nonprofit is deploying interpreters from colonial times to convict you about food waste. You know, when not preserving peak season tomatoes meant starving in the winter rather than grocery store guilt.

I wrote about the nonprofit’s approach to “green history” here, and how they’re using the past to help us reconsider our behaviors in the present. The half-day festival includes apple preservation, no waste meal planning sessions and fermentation lessons from one of my favorites, Number 1 Sons’ Yi Wah Roberts. Read more about the event, which costs $5 to attend, here.

Consider it my recommendation for wrapping up summer, added inspiration for putting up its bounty for those cooler months to come. I’m looking forward to thinking about starting a more substantial garden next year. That’s right, I’m looking forward to thinking about it — and not at all ready to commit to much beyond my regular schtick of herbs-in-pots.

We kept a kid alive for an entire year. That’s enough success to get me through at least next September.


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