26 October 2010

Newton Farmers' Market

A collage of gourds, purple and green kale,
and a farmer with her many-colored carrots.

On Tuesday I made my usual trip to the weekly Newton Farmers' Market, at Cold Spring Park. It's feast of color, especially in the fall. Market hours and schedule can be reviewed here:

While spring and summer flowers are usually considered nature's beauty queens, in autumn veggies steal the show. Lots of color palette ideas on view.

More images, including brussel sprouts in a backpack.

Since Newton has early school dismissal on Tuesday there are always lots of children, not to mention dogs. One vendor sells doggie treats. The range of goods has evolved way beyond tomatoes and spuds - one can buy fresh fish, handmade goat milk soap, frozen turkey pies and gourmet popcorn.

Some vendors picked up the Halloween theme. Bringing your own bag is a good idea - the shopper in the lower right is well-prepared to stow her purchases.

The "witch" in the center of the collage above is selling aromatic flavored vinegars from Cheshire Garden, which I've used in cooking for years. They do mail order: http://www.cheshiregarden.com/

Another farmer whose produce I particularly like is pictured in the upper right corner of the collage above. This is Alan, one of the brothers from Nicewicz Farm (pronounced Nishway) in Bolton, Massachusetts. Their blueberries and peaches are terrific and they have pick your own, although I haven't yet visited the farm in person. Looks interesting though, and more information about their farm can be found at http://www.nicewiczfarm.com/index.htm. The website may be a bit out of date, so always a good idea to call ahead.

The market re-opens after July 5, 2011; I'll be there.

21 October 2010

Provincetown, without the crowds

On the waterfront, Provincetown

On October 21, DH and I took a day trip to Provincetown. Many stores and restaurants remain open until the last weekend in October, and the weather can be beautiful on the Cape in autumn. It's two hours and change from our house in suburban Boston, so, after a look at the forecast, off we went. The flyover at the bridge is a big improvement from the old Sagamore rotary, and we made good time on route 6.

Our first stop, The Atlantic Spice Company, in North Truro, is a familiar favorite, www.atlanticspice.com. The driveway is immediately after the turn-off to route 6A, and I mean immediate - take a left about 10' after pulling on to 6A. Up the hill to a big blue warehouse-type structure. Unfortunately, they were out of some of our staples - dried grated lemon peel (almost a good as fresh), as well as peppermint and chamomile tea. We managed to console ourselves with some spearmint tea, and a bamboo cutting board, to replace our old warped maple one. Warning - the facilities, for shoppers, consist of a porta-potty.

The big blue building

Bins of bulk spices and teas


...and mugs for your cuppa

Onto P-town, where we easily found a parking space on Commercial St. - confirmation, if any was needed, that it's not summer anymore - so didn't have to use our usual stables, the large lots on Bradford St. or MacMillan wharf.

Sighting the Monument

What's wrong with this picture - no traffic on Commercial St.

A great way to get around the Cape

Autumn colors

Everlasting flowers

Gallery window, with painting inspired by Trip-around-the World quilt pattern

We ambled westward down Commercial St., able to walk at a normal pace, as opposed to a thread-your-way-through-the-crowds pace, as we had the street largely to ourselves.

Always fun to admire what's on offer

Storefronts with seasonal decor
Lower right is Cafe Heaven, a good place for lunch

Cafe Heaven closes on Wednesday, sadly, but we devoured very good Portuguese kale soup, followed by crab cakes with chipotle mayo, at the Post Office Cafe, 303 Commercial St.; this place has an upstairs performance space with drag shows during the summer, but on this calm day in October the only other patrons were three elderly ladies, and they also enjoyed the soup.

I'd love to see the light through the glass on the inside of this store -
I'll have to return when it's open

Industrial spools re-purposed for display of jewelry at Roots, a home furnishing store

This was a shopping expedition, and we admired the furnishings and accessories at Roots, www.shoproots.com, and spent considerable time at Utilities, www.utilitieshome.com, an Aladdin's cave of kitchen and bath furnishings.

Glassware, woodenware, great melamine, and DH perusing the merchandise

We replaced our thirty-one-year-old food mill with a new model, and also acquired some cooking spoons for nonstick cookware.

Our last shopping stop was the Provincetown Artisan cooperative, Whaler's Wharf, 237 Commercial St., www.provincetownartisancoop.com. If you want funky totchkes and fun jewelry, this is the place. This store is in the newly built Whaler's Wharf - the older structure burned down in 1998- and is right on the water.

Whaler's Wharf atrium, artisans' wares for sale,
remnant of Provincetown Theatre

Kayaks, stored for the winter, behind Whaler's Wharf

We couldn't come to the Cape without going to the beach, so drove to Race Point. Almost deserted.

Elegy to summer

Our last stop on the way home was Wellfleet; The Lighthouse restaurant was about the only open establishment. Cute building, disappointing food, we didn't let it get us down.

Sunset - from the bridge at Chequessett Neck
Can you spot the loon?

A sere silhouette

19 October 2010

Rising Star Quilt Show 2010

Details of some of the wonderful quilts at this show.
From left to right, quilts are by Peggy Boning, Lisa Welter and Ginny Leonardos.

Inside, and outside, Cary Hall.

This week-end I went to Lexington, to the annual quilt show of the Rising Star quilt guild, whose membership overlaps significantly with my guild. As I've said before, Americans may be bowling alone, but we're quilting together. This is a nicely done show, with vendors, food (great bakers in this guild) and even a scissor-sharpening station. More about this guild can be found on their website: http://www.risingstarquilters.org/

Quilt by Penny Sander.

One of my favorite quilts is one that interacts with the viewer, and is based on an optical illusion designed by Italian scientist Baingio Pinna. Enlarge the image by clicking on it, and, while focused on the central black button, move your head either directly forwards or backwards. The wheels should spin.

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17 October 2010

Apple-picking at Nashoba

Apple harvest.

In early October, my daughter came up to Massachusetts to attend a wedding and we had a family outing to our favorite pick-your-own orchard, Nashoba Valley Winery, in Bolton. Their website is: http://www.nashobawinery.com/
We've been making family pilgrimages here since the kids were little to pick peaches, raspberries and apples, in season. At one point, previous owners of the orchard diversified into fruit wines; the current owners have added a micro-brewery and restaurant as well. Although we like the alcoholic offerings - try the raspberry wine - our focus remains on the fruit.

Visitors picnicking outside the retail store complex.

Cider donut with caramel sauce. I didn't share.

There's also a snack stand with donuts, drinks, etc. The joint was jumping, as the weather gods provided a classic New England sunny, sweatshirt kind of day.

Trees loaded with apples.

Jay carries the apple tote.

The air is sweet with apple aroma.

A view down the row.

We filled our tote very quickly.

Collage of three different apple varieties.

Julia and friend Bryan.

Julia next to the apple tree.

An old, old tree, still bearing.

The fruit of our labors, safely strapped in for the journey home.

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