Peak tomato season in Virginia means there are expansive flats of heirlooms at every market. It also means that there are plenty of cast-offs. And, as far as canning’s concerned, it’s cast-offs you should be after. It may take some asking around, but you can generally find someone to sell you dented, bruised, or otherwise compromised tomatoes at cut rate.
In search of tomato deals, last weekend we piled in the car and drove down to the town of Scottsville for country prices. read more »
I decided I’d only worry about the garden through July. After that, I let it all surrender to the squash bugs, at least one groundhog, a few squirrels, possibly a deer, and powdery mildew and blight of all manner. But even as they weather the onslaught, the tired-looking plants still spew fruit. Most of my outdoor plants have had a banner year, especially considering my gardening-in-Virginia track record. All the plants, except the fig. read more »
Our family has a range of feelings about mustard. Our younger daughter would be perfectly content to have a dinner of mustard and nothing else, while our older one won’t touch it. Brian could spend an hour browsing the mustard section of our local international food store. And I fall somewhere in the middle. But, a mustard-based barbecue sauce –– that’s something that brings us all together. The first time we a made it, it was because it was easy. The second time, it was because the first iteration was just shy of completely addictive. At its best, mustard-based barbecue sauce, also known as South Carolina-style sauce, gets some zip from mustard and is heightened by additions like apple cider vinegar, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.
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According to the calendar, we’re right in the middle of August, though any sensory assessment would tell you it’s late September. It’s been a mild summer in Charlottesville, with only a handful of days where temperatures topped the 90 degree mark. And ever since we ticked over into the month of August, fall has been in the air. Tiny acorns are already dropping, dogwood leaves are tinged with red, while many of the tulip polars, birch, and black walnut trees have already yellowed and lost most of their leaves. The cicadas, typically deafening in the southern summer, never really reached full force. Instead, there’s the quiet hum of crickets.
No matter the time of year, I love how the changing seasons capture our attention. read more »
This week has been beastly. Sometimes, parenting should be hilarious but isn’t, because it’s actually happening. There you are cleaning cuts, or puke, or both, and then sort of getting on with your day. read more »
With the weather already turning cooler, I’m feeling like the summer is slipping away too quickly. So it’s important to take some time and step away –– read a book, dangle feet in the water, and squeeze our children a little too tight. This weekend, I hope you’ll have time to pause, breathe some air, and take in one of the intense pink sunsets that typify this time of year. When you do any of these things, they’ll be better with a mint julep in hand. (You can check out our pared-down take over on Cosmopolitan.) read more »