That is a 2-pound heirloom tomato.

Laverne, my Amish friend, sold me a 1/2 a peck of these “unsellable” beauties for $15 – an opportunity to get a large batch of roasted tomatoes (See Summer Kitchen 1). Also in the featured photo: first-ever plums from an established tree near the small pond and crab apples that I paddled beneath on the lake and harvested from my kayak.

Other produce surprises of the summer: a 50-by-15 foot wild raspberry patch that found its way to our meadow after a required brush clearing in the power line easement that separates our woods from our former botanical garden.

Peach raspberry compote thickened with natural pectin from wild gooseberries which are far too plentiful in the woods and far too tart to be enjoyable alone. Simply 4 cups of fruit, 3 cups sugar, 2 tblsp chopped gooseberries and let her bubble until a drop slows down on a vertical glass plate.

Other bounty that can be overwhelming are kale, broccoli, fennel and celery. Try this easy recipe:

SAUTE 10 IKEA frozen Swedish meatballs in 2 Tblsp butter. ADD a cup each of chopped celery (stalks and leaves), fennel bulb and medium sweet onion until limp. ADD 3 cloves of garlic very thinly sliced (or one clove, if your crop was as large as mine), 2 Tblsp dijon mustard, 1/4 heavy cream, 1/4 dry white wine (I used an Oregon Pinot Gris), 1/2 cup mild chopped herbs (mint, rosemary, parsley…whatever looks good from the garden), 2 Tblsp chopped fresh sage ( a strong one).  SIMMER then add 4 cups fresh chopped kale (or broccoli green, maybe beet greens). ADD salt and fresh ground pepper. COVER until kale wilts. Toss and serve with the rest of that Oregon Pinot Gris.

Every summer in our rural location, I rough chop a ton of celery and fennel for winter soups, sautes and stews and keep the green tops of leeks, fennel and celery in a freezer bag for stock.

Enjoy the fresh flavors of summer then preserve what you can to brighten winter meals.

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