By Analiese Paik
August arrives tomorrow, yet we are far from ready to say goodbye to summer’s long, hot days. It’s the perfect time to revisit summer bucket lists, or write new ones, to ensure we make the most of the beautiful weather and create memories that will sustain us through the cold winter ahead.
Our farms are overflowing with a cornucopia of delicious and nutritious produce in late summer, so why not plan a few special green food activities before the bounty ends? Here are 10 suggestions for creating your own end-of-season bucket list.
- Go blueberry picking at Jones Family Farm in Shelton, stay for the Friday farmers’ market from 3:30 – 6:30 pm in the Harvest Kitchen Courtyard, then stop in the Winery Tasting Room to savor their award-winning wines. Visit jonesfamilyfarms.com for more information and call the Farmer Jones Crop Line at 203-929-8425 for crop and field reports when planning your visit.
- Dine al fresco at a farm with friends for a magical evening that’s likely to be the highlight of your summer dining experiences. Visit our Guide to Farm Dinners in and around the county for complete information.
- Make an heirloom tomato salad with fresh basil and mozzarella dressed with high quality olive oil and vinegar. Heirloom tomatoes are the most delicious and coveted late summer vegetable and are widely available at farm stands and farmers’ markets through September. Use our guides to organic farm stands and farmers’ markets in the county to find one near you.
- Head to Bishop’s Orchards Winery in Guilford the weekend of August 16-17 to attend the 8th Annual Shoreline Wine Festival and enjoy tastings from six Connecticut wineries, entertainment, and food vendors. Visit shorelinewinefestival.com for complete information and online ticket sales.
- Savor an ice cream sandwich from The Farmer’s Cow, locally made with their ice cream and Sweet & Simple cookies, while watching the sunset at the beach. Get the complete scoop on this special summer treat in our article The Farmers, The Baker, the Ice Cream Sandwich Makers.
- Preserve herbs by drying and storing them in glass jars, vegetables by cooking and freezing them, and fruit by freezing whole berries and sliced tree fruit on a cookie sheet before transferring them to a freezer container or bag. Visit our events page for canning workshops held at farms.
- Visit a farm stand or farmers’ market and buy a vegetable you’ve never eaten before. Ask the farmer how to prepare it and be sure to use the whole vegetable if it’s entirely edible. Use our guides to organic farm stands and farmers’ markets in the county to find one near you.
- Plant something edible in your yard, preferably in a container or raised bed filled with healthy, organic soil. Fast maturing, cool weather crops including bok choy, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard greens can be direct sown in August.
- Read Dan Barber’s book, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food, for enlightenment, entertainment, and excellent fodder for dinner conversation, especially the kind you’ll engage in while dining at community tables during farm dinners.
- Make homemade ice cream with your kids, adding fresh fruit that’s macerated overnight, for a delicious and refreshing indulgence that might just become a tradition. Use organic dairy and fruit whenever possible.
A version of this article was also published in the September issue of Natural Awakenings-Fairfield County where Analiese Paik is Food Editor.