In Season Fruit

PiesOn a Sunday in August, I found myself at Chester Sunday Market, a wonderful farmers market started a few years ago. Local farmers and merchants set up stands in the center of Chester, a small town on the Connecticut River.

All products are fresh and locally sourced—colorful jams and jellies, sea green pickles, warm ripe tomatoes, juicy peaches, crusty loaves of bread, and delicious looking baked goods. Last year I bought bread & butter pickles for my daughter, Aurora, at one of the stands. While walking through the market I recognized the farmer who made the pickles Aurora loved. I scanned her offerings—plum jam, ginger peach jelly, garlic dill pickles, and more, but no bread and butter pickles. I asked if they had any, and the farmer checked in the back of her truck, thinking maybe she had more. Unfortunately, she couldn't find anymore jars.

Slightly disappointed, but still wanting to support this farmer, I continued to browse the table: fresh fruits and vegetables, preserves, and pies. "That's it," I thought. "I'll bring home a fresh-baked pie." I chose a peach/plum crumb pie.

When I got home Aurora asked, "Is the pie apple?"

"No, it's not apple. Why isn't it apple?" I replied.

"Because apples aren't in season. Is it peach?" she said.

I smile at the fact that Aurora has a sense of "growing seasons"—that she knows, locally, what's happening in the orchards. She sees, in her minds eye, peaches warming and ripening in the summer sun and crisp red apples ready to be picked as the fall days shorten. Aurora understands and is hooked into the cycle of life. I believe this to be an important and grounding force for children, and for adults, really. It helps us recognize that we are part of some wonderful, complicated design.

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