In Our Fall 2016 Issue
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
GRIST FOR THE MILL: THE LOST GARDEN
For whatever reason (and I am certain there are many) my vegetable garden really faltered this summer. Its performance throughout the growing season landed somewhere between a vegetal letdown and a blight-tinged washout, and I should probably be laden with shame, but I am choosing not to be. The usually lovely Juliet tomatoes showed promise in June but began to wither and drop their semi-ripened fruit by the close of July. My dill bolted in the heat, and my chives drooped and became bitter, and my rows of carefully planted lettuce stood as tall as Lilliputian soldiers but barely prospered beyond an initial show of force. Even my kale, that indestructible and phoenix-like brassica, just decided to lay down next to the yellowing basil like something out of the 15th century’s Ars Moriendi, or “The Art of Dying.” However, my bush of shishito peppers didn’t seem to be fazed by the casualties that surrounded them, and they continue to jettison green bulbs every few days, and I do hold out hope for the mini-pumpkins of autumn that I have planted, despite my misfortune.
To be honest, I watered intermittently during a summer that was strikingly dry. I likely watered too much at times—saturating the tomatoes in the middle of the night. I should have amended the soil. I probably planted the rows too close together, and I was gone and preoccupied more than I care to admit. I think the garden witnessed my nonchalance and gave up the ghost. However, there is always the fall, and if I completely fall on my face this season, there is always next year.
Thankfully, as I stumble, the rest of the valley has remained steadfast and fecund. This issue, as always, reveals the characters and stories that make up the enduring spirit of our local food scene. We visit with the best farm stand around, Montgomery Place Orchards, and get some perspective on how the decades-old farm is adapting to Bard College as its new landlord (“The Inconvenient Farm Stand,” page 44). While the Valley is probably not the first thing many think of when they consider Mexican food, we travel to Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and Fleischmanns to get a look at how years of Mexican migration north has made these places hubs of traditional (as well as hybridized) Mexican cuisine (“El Norte,” page 52). We also check in with Smorgasburg Upstate, in Kingston, and explore Westchester’s “Little Empire” of food offerings (page 34).
So with fall comes the reckoning of the bountiful season that has just past (in my case, not so much) and a taking stock of reserves as well as intentions for the coming months.
I hope we have a great autumnal season on our hands and please pray for my mini-pumpkins— I need a miracle.
-Eric Steinman, Editor