Day Hike at Mount Roberts, New Hampshire

Mount Roberts, New Hampshire

I think of September as summer for locals — the crush of tourists are gone, yet the days continue to be sunny and, finally, the evenings cool enough for a full night’s sleep. Though there’s a delay in change in foliage this year, it’s also the time when hiking in New England is at its best. There are many good choices less than a two-hour drive from the Seacoast, with Mount Roberts among them. Like most trails in the Granite State, it leads straight up, with a loop around the summit, for a total of 5 miles. With moderate effort through forest alternating with ledge, multiple views of Lake Winnipesaukee are on offer, each more spectacular than the last as one ascends. Get outside, work up an appetite, and enjoy the season, dear friends.

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September’s Bounty at the York Farmers’ Market

York Farmers' MarketI rarely carry a list while shopping at the farmers’ market, and discovered that the basketful of food I brought home this weekend from the York Farmers’ Market satisfied cravings I didn’t know I had. I found a frilly head of frisee at Martha’s Garden, this particular one a French heirloom called Très Fine Maraichère Olesh endive, grown for it’s milder flavor and fine texture. As I tucked it into my basket, a tangly frisee salad laced with bits of savory lardons, an elegant version of bacon, came to mind. It’s a dish that always reminds me of bouts of frenzied cooking at the restaurant Quatorze, trying to keep up with the late night denizens of lower New York as the orders came rushing in once the clubs let out. The combination of cool, slightly bitter greens and salty pork, barely wilted by a warm dressing of mustardy vinaigrette, eases the transition, whether it be from late night hours to early morn, or, in this case, summer into fall.

Not all of the day’s encounters were so evocative, some were just reminders to fill some lack in diet. I picked up tonic broccoli, and thought of a skillet-full of Martha Rose Shulman’s Whole Grain Macaroni and Cheese laden with florets, while iron-rich lacinato kale introduces a favorite gratin back into my cooking. There’s also corn and tomatoes with slivered celery to be folded in for an end of summer salad, and red romaine tossed with crispy radishes for those meals in between. While some of my cravings are rooted in memory and others in a kind of bodily need, all feel met by this moment in the season.

Above: Corn and broccoli from River Lily Farm; celery, kale, and frisee endive from Martha’s Garden; red romaine and radishes from Connolly’s Organics; apples and pears from Sandy Hill Farm; and tomatoes from Riverside Farm Stand & Greenhouse.

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Sauteed Zucchini with Cipollini Onions and Buratta

Sauteed Zucchini with Cipollini Onions and Buratta

The heat and humidity of these last weeks of summer has me taking dinner down to its barest essentials. Still, there’s a kind of luxuriousness that remains in paring things down this far. Just five ingredients, plus some olive oil and black pepper — round zucchini from Sandy Hill Farm cut into wedges like an apple, sautéed with fresh Cippolini onions from Connolly’s Organics and crisp garlic from Touching Earth Farm, all from the York (Gateway) Farmers’ Market, then finished with some mint from the garden, and served with a lusciously oozing globe of buratta from Maplebrook Farm. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. Enjoy every bit of this long weekend, dear friends, there’s much to savor.

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Hop Blossoms

Hop Blossoms

During a summery stroll through Kittery at twilight, we came upon the hops vine that grows vigorously in the middle of Foreside, now heavily laden with piney blossoms. Though we’re more familiar with their use in flavoring beer, other parts of this perennial herb are also edible — especially the young shoots but also leaves, harvested while at their tenderest in spring. For the moment, I’m imagining the blossoms taken singly and deep fried, battered or not.

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Saving Summer with The Sound


I recently had the pleasure of talking about preserving with Leslie Modica for The Sound — for tips on where to start with canning, freezing, dehydrating and fermenting the season’s bounty, you can read the whole article here:

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Summer Sojourn at Bailey Island

Bailey Island

A perfect summer day on Bailey Island — beginning with wild Maine blueberries for breakfast, a visit to the Brunswick Farmers Market to stock up, an easy-going bike ride to the furthest end of the island where we nibbled on wild radish blossoms and seed pods, a walk around the Giant Stairs to see the basalt formations, and ending with a memorably delicious dinner at Tao Yuan Restaurant. August is here, dear friends, enjoy every minute of it.

Above: Mackerel Cove at Bailey Island, Maine.

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Celia Thaxter’s Garden, Appledore Island

Celia Thaxter's Garden, Appledore Island

“At the Isles of Shoals, among the ledges of the largest island, Appledore, lies the small garden… Ever since I could remember anything, flowers have been like dear friends to me, comforters, inspirers, powers to uplift and to cheer. A lonely child, living on the lighthouse island ten miles away from the mainland, every blade of grass that sprang out of the ground, every humblest weed, was precious in my sight…” — Celia Thaxter, “An Island Garden”

Earlier this summer, I had the chance to visit the site of Celia Thaxter’s garden on Appledore Island. With its straight borders and paths, the garden is planted mostly with annuals that she’d fill her parlor with, as well as the nearby Appledore Hotel. There’s something about being on an island and its surround of open water that takes one out of oneself, and, though visitors frequently come just for the garden, the island itself was a source of inspiration for Celia’s many guests.

Celia Thaxter's Garden, Appledore Island Beyond the garden, the landscape here is rugged, as a visit to the Devil’s Dance Floor, one of the island’s many coves, attests — ample evidence of the feat Celia accomplished in creating her “little old-fashioned garden.” Appledore is now home to the Shoals Marine Laboratory, which continues Celia’s tradition of welcoming visitors through its program of workshops and tours. Though this weekend is the last of the garden-specific tours, the docent-led natural and cultural history ones also includes Celia’s garden, with several dates still available in August.

An Island Garden by Celia Thaxter with illuminations and pictures by Childe Hassam
About Celia Thaxter’s Garden, Shoals Marine Lab
Celia Thaxter’s Garden Tours, Shoals Marine Lab
Appledore Island Walking Tour Cruises, UNH Marine Docents
UNH Marine Docent Program

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