Eventually frost will freeze the collards into ice sculptures and turn potatoes and beets and apples into rock balls. That’s when our beloved local vegetable stand will finally have to close. So far, it’s managing to last into mid November even though the chill wind whips through, requiring mitts, toque, scarf and toasty coat to stick it out at the cash register.
The place is still busy with local customers and shows off its bushels of brilliant bounty. Cabbages, red and green peppers, heritage apples, beets, brussels sprouts, yams, kale purple cauliflower, every kind of squash by the bushel and, until a week or so ago, sweet corn. The family has run the farm for over 100 years and regularly clean up the prizes at the county fair. There are sheep in a pen for kids to pet, tame rabbits hopping about underfoot, a old dog watching the cars come and go.
In high summer, the tractors and ATV’s race back and forth to the fields for more produce, leaving muddy tracks across the highway, as the tourist s swarm in. The rich sandy loam on which Picton is founded turns out fruit and vegetables by the wagon load. From the first greens of spring, we have all been able to eat out the stand and escape the apples and garlic and hordes of other edibles shipped from China.
It’s going to be -4 C in a couple of nights. Fingers crossed that the heavy sheets thrown over the vegetable opulence at night will be able to fend off the effects. Another week, we ask. And after that, another. Maybe. If the frost giant will hold off. If not, then thank you, thank you, thank you until next spring.