Season’s Change When It Comes Their Time

San Francisco doesn’t have traditional seasons. We have wintry temps in July, and often get a few 80 degree days in February or March. But although the weather isn’t necessarily seasonal, by shopping regularly at the farmers market, we know when the seasons are changing because the food at the market changes.

We had our last corn a few weeks ago, and the only tomatoes left are early girls. Although there are still some raspberries and strawberries, the peaches and nectarines have been replaced by pears, persimmons and pomegranates.

I don’t transition easily to Fall. While I delight in seeing the first peaches come to the market, I just I don’t feel the same about turnips. I love all the crisp apples, but I can’t muster up much enthusiasm for the pear.

I assume others feel the same because as fall sinks in, the crowds of shoppers at the market diminish. You can walk more easily between stands, and this weekend, there was no line at all for the City’s best mexican food.

It helped me ease into Fall by thinking about buying Fall produce as a charitable act. I didn’t really feel like butternut squash and yams when I started buying them a few weeks ago from Eatwell Farm, after hearing that the farm’s spectacular tomato crop had been quarantined due to proximity to a Mediterranean fruit fly. Knowing the farm was struggling, I made sure to buy something from them each week. And I hope I helped them, because those squashes and yams helped me feel ready for Fall.

Of course, not all Fall foods pale in comparison to Summer’s bounty. In some cases, there are quite worthy substitutes. Sure, I loved the red flame grapes at Hamada, but now they’re selling Satsuma mandarin oranges.

I have a problem with Satsuma mandarin oranges and that is that I never seem to buy enough of them to satisfy my craving for them. They’re so delicious and easy to peel. When isn’t a good time for a Satsuma?! (The other problem is that I like to call them Satsumas – not mandarins, not oranges.)

I bought some of Hamada’s Satsumas, and ate them as I walked through the market, dropping the peels on to the rest of my weekly haul. At that moment, I didn’t really miss the peaches or the corn. I felt ready for citrus and for squash.

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