Before visiting the Provincetown farmers' market in Massachusetts a couple weekends ago, Hurricane Earl was moving up the coast. While locals hauled their boats ashore and boarded up windows, these farmers were picking all the ripe produce and hoping to still have a Saturday market to sell their crops.
Overnight on Friday the storm diminished and Saturday morning dawned full of sunshine and faces smiling with relief.
Another sweet note to the day was a stand from Birdsong Farm in Dennis, Massachusetts, that was filled with beach plum jam, pancake syrup and fresh beach plums. This brought me back to my childhood on Cape Cod.
From Maryland to Maine, this fruit is part of a coastal summer. NPR writer Elspeth Pierson tells the tale of her beach plum experience and shares a family recipe here.
Farmer Andy Pollock (above) from Silverbrook Farm in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, spent the days before the market harvesting heirloom tomatoes and Asian pears, and doing his best to protect his greenhouses and chickens from the approaching hurricane. Being so close to the coast, he was worried about the salt spray that comes with storms—it can destroy crops. "We have one field that is 50 yards from the ocean and the main farm is about two miles from the closest saltwater."
Doris Mills from Noquochoke Orchards in Westport, Massachusetts, was also breathing a sigh of relief. "We are right on the water. We got a lot [of the crop] off the trees. Just looking at the trees you can tell that we didn't get the wind."
She also explained that with this season running a good two weeks ahead of normal, much of the Noquochoke fruit has already been harvested and sold.
Pollock, who founded and manages this market, said it has been a phenomenal year. Vendors have had very appreciative customers and positive community involvement. "I think it has become a real fabric of the community. It's a place where townies and tourists meet, gay and straight, old and young, people who are here for a weekend, and people who live here year-round. It's one place where all those people can come together," he said.
This young gourmet was sampling olive oils from Olio Di Melli.
Provincetown Farmers' Market
Ryder Street Parking Lot (next to Town Hall; map) Saturdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Open through December 4th
Seasonal Produce Guide
In Season Right This Minute
Apples Tomatoes Beach plums Ground cherries Peppers String beans Summer squash Garlic Potatoes Late peaches Raspberries Concord grapes
Winter squash More potatoes Pumpkins Mums