It is the beginning of September, and the cold bite of autumn has started to grace our mornings in the garden; although we are still hopefully weeks away from snow, the drop in temperature reminds us that we are growing closer to winter and closer to the end of our growing season. Autumn has always been my favorite season – it is a time of transition and change, but also of harvest and bounty. Our greenhouse is yielding many favorite flavors of years past, like our Cinnamon Girl pumpkins and citrus basil, and some new ones such as Double Red sweet corn and hot fresno peppers. The squash plants, although weathered and stunted by early-season hail, are now taking over the garden and bear abundant fruit. Withered potato plants indicate that a harvest of spuds are hiding under the soil, ready to fill our pantry and stomachs. Most of these plants have been growing from seed since February or March; considering a tiny seed against the size and complexity of its final product, the simple power of soil, water, sun, and seeds is a small marvel to witness.
This summer season has been marked by an expansion in collaboration between The Home Ranch horticulture team and culinary team. Our combined passion for experimenting with new flavors, new varieties, and new preparation methods has led us to develop a more playful, seasonally driven menu that draws on the biodiversity found in our garden and in the native Colorado landscape. At its core, our partnership ensures that we continue to emphasize both culinary-inspired farming and farm-inspired cuisine. From a farm perspective, we are excited to integrate more heirloom and culinary vegetable varieties into our 2020 production, and have already been scanning the seed catalogs in excitement for both the future garden layout and flavor combinations.
Going into the fallow season often leaves gardeners with a feeling of absence, especially in the long snowy months of Clark, but the horticulture and culinary team are working hard to bring the taste of growing season deep into the heart of winter. Our garlic is cured and hanging in braids, currants have been dried or preserved in a jam, and hops are hidden in the freezer for a wintertime brew. The dehydrator is working tirelessly to dry herbs for a mid-January chicken noodle soup, and our ferments are bubbling with the promise of future vinegar and kombucha. Although in the winter we lack the same home-grown diversity available in the summer months, it is a great opportunity to exercise our creative muscles and dig deep into the science of food preservation. It is in this spirit of innovation that we embrace the seasonal transition wholeheartedly, anxiously awaiting the advent of golden aspen foliage while exercising gratitude for every week of warm sunshine that we can get. We look forward to the remainder of the growing season, and hope to see you at The Home Ranch.
Home Ranch Master Gardner