Thursday, August 30, 2018

Harvest Time

Pears on my tree
One of the simple joys in life has got to be growing your own food.  There's such a sense of well-being and satisfaction associated with stepping out into your yard, reaching up to pick a peach or a pear off of your own tree, and eating it.

In Miami, my father would not live in a house that did not have a mango tree on the property.  That was a deal-breaker for him.  The mangos from his own trees somehow tasted sweeter than any he could buy at the market, and I can vividly remember him diligently watering his beloved trees.

Our yard had bountiful mango trees, a papaya tree, a Florida avocado tree, a dwarf banana tree, a sour orange tree, and chayote growing in it.  My mother would occasionally grow tomatoes and bell peppers, as well, and us kids tried our hand at small gardens of carrots, peas, and lima beans.

Harvesting cherries from my tree before the birds do!
When we moved to Colorado, I was enchanted by the wild raspberry and blueberry bushes, and all the apple and crabapple trees, in the neighborhood.  I was determined to have my own Montmorency Cherry Tree, a Pear Tree and a Peach Tree growing in my yard, so I planted each one as soon as I could.

Every year was a race to get to the ripened cherries before the birds did.  Wanting to wait until the very last minute, but harvesting them before the birds picked the tree clean, which could literally happen in one afternoon.

The squirrels are the biggest competitors for the pears ... they seem to go after them quite often, although they usually leave a few behind for us to enjoy.  But the most prolific producer by far was my peach tree.

So many peaches!
Colorado is rather renowned for its famous Palisades Peaches.  But the ones I grow in my backyard are just as sweet and delicious!  Not only do the birds and squirrels mostly leave my peach tree alone, but it is laden with peaches every other year.  There would be so many peaches on each limb, we'd have to prop the branches up with supports to prevent breakage.

The harvest is so bountiful that not only do I make peach pies, cobblers and preserves, but I also end up freezing a lot of the fruit, as well, for future uses.  There's nothing like a supper of ham with peaches, or grilled peaches topped with ice cream, or sauteed peaches tucked into a crepe blanket or spooned over pancakes.  You can never have too many peaches!

My sister grows apples and squash, and her daughters both have green thumbs, as well.  Natalie has an herb and vegetable garden, and shares her largesse with us all, while Elizabeth manages to produce a bumper crop of tomatoes, peppers, kale, squash and strawberries.

This year, my nieces set me up with a lovely tomato planter, and I've already enjoyed quite a few this season, with plenty more coming!  Although they took quite a rough hit from a couple of surprise spring hailstorms early in the season, the plants recovered sufficiently to produce quite a few lovely tomatoes for me.  Such simple things can bring such joy!  A drizzle of high-quality olive oil and salt on these flavorful homegrown lovelies, and your tastebuds absolutely sing!

I highly recommend growing your own and enjoying the bounty of your own plants and trees on your table when the harvest comes in.

May the fruits of the season be plentiful wherever you abide!

Enjoy previous seasonal blog posts: 

Happy Labor Day
Ana's 1st Place prize-winning French Apple Pie, and her 2nd Place prize-winning Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie.
We're Jammin'
When the harvest is bountiful ...
Of Natural Disasters and Charity  A humbling reminder that nature is in charge, despite our best-laid plans.Our Latest Obsession ...
Heirloom tomatoes ... the ugly ducklings that are really the beautiful swans of tomatoes.
The Soundtracks of Summer
What music will be playing through your head this summer to get you into vacation-mode?
Do-Gooders!  My sister's non-profit, Healing Warriors Program, gives away a state-of-the-art electric wheelchair!
Food Porn
It has become a national obsession ... we're salivating over food and all the food shows on tv.
Summer Entertaining ...
the perfect way to entertain.
Herb Harvest
There's nothing like growing your own fresh herbs!
Sunshine In A Jar
Preserved lemons are a game-changer!
Men's Favorites
The care-and-feeding of hungry men is always a priority ... especially on Father's Day!
Outdoor Spaces
Bringing the indoors outside is just how we want to live in the summertime.
Camp Summertime!
a.k.a. What did you do during your summer vacation?
The Fruits of Summer
There's fruit in my salad!
Cooking with Herbs
Herbs are making a tasty appearance in some of your favorite desserts!
Locally-grown farm-fresh products and produce are the best!
The Romance of Travel
Falling in love with a new destination, adventure, and new vistas.
The Icing on the Cake
Does a bakery really need to make frosted layer cakes?
How It All Began
The very beginnings of Afternoon Tea.
Top Chef - Colorado
A celebrity in the family!

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