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Why Harvest Season is Our Favorite Time of Year

Why Harvest Season is Our Favorite Time of Year
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By Steve Nubie

A family meal outside may be the best way to embrace the early days of Autumn, and begin a season that is all about family and giving thanks.

As the first frosts continue to dust the morning grass across the country, harvesting is taking place in gardens and on farms as the days grow crisp. It’s rewarding to gather a basket of fruits and vegetables from plants and trees that have yielded more than a few meals since the first fruits of August. In some ways it reflects the time and care that many of us have put into our families, careers and friendships.

Maybe that’s what makes Fall so special. The warmth of the first fire in the fireplace or the comfort of a campfire under a clear, cool sky of stars on black velvet. But the greatest warmth we feel is in the company of those who matter to us most. It’s the time for hot apple cider, baked, homemade pies, cream soups and baked breads.

Autumn has a crisp aroma that seems to combine a mix of light wood-smoke, cinnamon and freshly cut pine.   As the trees light up in shades of red and gold it might be time to consider an evening dinner outside. Winter is not far behind and the chilly rains of late Fall are yet to come. Maybe this is the best time to gather those friends, call the family and share a true harvest meal. A meal that collects not just the fruits of the season but the affection and friendships that bring warmth on any blustery day.

Your steps towards this Autumn feast are fairly simple. Figure out who you want to invite, make a menu, and find a nice spot outside to setup your table. A little help from your friends can bring a lot to the event whether it’s bringing a dish to share, helping to assemble chairs and a table setting, or bringing a unique beverage that’s in time with the season. The recipes we mention are all linked to ingredients and directions to make your planning simple.

Classic drinks begin with cider, Old-English Mulled wine, herbal iced-teas or a red wine for a necessary toast to all.

Appetizers enjoyed at the table include bacon-wrapped Brussels sprouts, harvest root soup, and a tomato and sweet onion salad with a sweet Balsamic vinaigrette. If you’re in the mood, a creamy pumpkin soup served in small pumpkin bowls says it all.

The main course could include pheasant, duck, Cornish Hens or a simple orange-glazed chicken.   Salmon or trout amandine fit the season as well.

Sides could include a squash medley roasted in brown-butter.   Mashed sweet potatoes glazed with butter and cinnamon or cauliflower steamed and mashed.

Desserts could range from bread-pudding to an apple or peach pie, or maybe a cherry cobbler.

Perhaps most important is the simple salutes and kind words we share with each other. William Blake said it well when he penned:

“The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.”

            To Autumn

            William Blake -1783

Or in the words of Robert Frost:

“O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall”

            October

            Robert Frost -1915

It’s possible we won’t be able to come up with a toast or a tribute to our family and friends quite like these two gentlemen. But if the words are heartfelt the clear sincerity of this season will make even our simplest expressions ring true.

Autumn is genuinely a unique time of year. Take the time and harvest the friendships and the fruits of this season. #autumn #outdoor dining

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