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This is my produce washing sink, that sits under an apple tree in our side yard. I take some variation of this picture every fall. I’m always struck by the contrast of the fall leaves against that white (well, whiter than anything else out there) sink.

An old friend used to say, “Put a fork in me, I’m done”. Well, yesterday was my last farmers market of the season. We started in May doing one market a week, and come June, we were doing three. We went back down to one in October. But it was a total of 60 markets in the last 6 months. I think I skipped a total of 5. I say “we” because my husband helps me set up and tear down on Saturdays. But mostly its me. It’s been a GREAT year (more on that in another post) but for now, I’m really happy to take a bit of a break. I AM however, filling 3 wholesale soap orders and prepping for a holiday market in early December. So, I’m not done yet.

Meanwhile, we STILL haven’t had a frost to speak of. I actually picked a bunch of not-so-perfect tomatoes to donate to the gleaners at the last market, but they didn’t show up. And then the container fell over in the van on the way home and most of them cracked. So, the chickens got a lovely treat of tomatoes. And it is a testament to how exhausted I am by tomatoes at this point that I gave them to the chickens, which would have been unthinkable when I was living in Colorado.

The weather is starting to change, the trees are losing their leaves, we’ve finally gotten some rain, and all I want to do is make stews and soups. I LOVE the changing of the seasons.

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We planted popcorn, painted mountain flour corn and an ornamental Japanese corn out in our side yard. It got very little attention. Not enough water, not large enough blocks planted, some sacrificed to the goat, who could reach some of it through the fence. But we did manage to harvest to few.

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Virginia creeper. A bit invasive (tends to pop up in unexpected places), and not much to look at most of the year. But man is it spectacular this time of year.

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We thought this was a black walnut volunteer. But our big black walnut tree doesn’t get this kind of color, and now that I think about it, I grew up with black walnut trees, and they didn’t turn red in the fall. So, now we’re thinking this is a sumac.

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Watercress grows wild in Colorado, but not on our property there. So years ago, I bought some watercress seed to try to get some going. It didn’t work. And I still had the seed some 6 or 7 years later. So this year, I grew it in pots, and then put the pots in our little pond, in the running water spillway section. Turns out this made it REALLY happy. No idea if it will survive the winter, but I’m gratified to have finally pulled it off.

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I had visions of two large pots of nasturtiums on either side of our gate leading into the side yard. But for most of the summer it was too hot and they were mighty unhappy. Now, with the cooler temperatures, it finally looks like what I had envisioned back in June. Nasturtiums are edible and have a bit of a peppery taste, though I rarely think to eat them.

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This lovely simple peach colored rose has literally been blooming since at least June. But one of the main reasons I purchased it was because it has HUGE rosehips. Full of vitamin C. Great for cold season.

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Birdhouse gourds. Got them in late, but the weather has been forgiving, and there are a couple of good sized ones hidden in here. My intention is to actually make them into birdhouses and put them out in the garden next spring for the house wrens. The more birds, the less bugs. I’m all for that.

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And THIS is still happening. This variety is called Nova. It’s supposed to be a summer variety, but it managed to pull off a fall crop this year. Nice big berries.

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The mustard I planted this spring (culinary mustard) never got harvested (best laid plans), and reseeded, and now is blooming again this fall. That makes the bees happy.

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Rainbow Swiss chard. Wish I liked it better. It’s the only thing left out in the garden that still looks fabulous!

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The garage pantry. THIS makes me happy. Storage onions, winter squash, garlic, lots of canned tomatoes and jams, and several 5 gallon buckets of walnuts. And a big jar of local honey. Potatoes are stored in another room from the onions (they should not be stored together – they make each other sprout). Winter. Bring it on.

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I bought this little cardoon (related to artichokes) in a 4″ pot at the farmers market this spring. Evidently its not hard to make them happy in this growing climate. This is probably close to 5 feet across.

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With cardoons, you actually eat the stalks. You need to trim off the leaves/spikes, peel off the outer strings, then blanch it until its tender. THEN you use it however you wish, in any dish where you might want an artichoke flavor. It’s traditionally mixed with a lot of cream and cheese, but can also be stir fried or served with a vinaigrette. I haven’t actually tried any of these yet.

Miles Away Farm Blog © 2014, where we’re always up for a new food adventure, but are also SO about the familiar comfort foods of fall.

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