Fall at the Greenmarket

I went to the Greenmarket two days ago in the late evening, an hour before it closed.  The market was down to a few stalls, with some tables scattered with last of the season heirloom tomatoes from New Jersey.  Dark, leafy greens, touched by the cold, reminiscent of dark soil, cold air and days growing shorter.  Bright piles of cranberry beans, newly dug potatoes, and heaps of carrots and other root vegetables.  One stall had sunchokes with black dirt still clinging to the nubby roots.  I found celery root, like gnarled troll feet, caked with dirt at one stand; in other places, bunched with green tops and cleaner.  I could hardly breathe, lest my impractical longing for every meal to be cooked with just these greenmarket vegetables escape and hang heavy in the night air.

I had a first taste of amber green Niagara grapes at the market – their sticky, juicy and candy-like sweetness in pleasant contrast with dark purple concord grapes.  The heady smell of a green and yellow quince, its fuzziness soft against my cheek.  Then rows of rich, deep orange pumpkins at Phillips Farm.  I recently read an article about Sarah Frey who grows heirloom pumpkins and recommends stuffing and baking baby pumpkins with Gruyere and spinach.  I wanted to do the same.

There was a sweet sadness in the air.  It’s Halloween today and soon Thanksgiving will be here.  I can feel time passing, my children growing bigger every day.  It was Diwali this past weekend, the festival of lights and my favorite time of year, and marked in my childhood home with a pumpkin dish – aloo kaddu – that was served with golden puffy puris and boondi ka raita.  I’ve only been back home for Diwali once or twice in the last twenty years, but the excitement of the celebration never fails to fill me each time Diwali arrives.  I wonder if it is that way for my children.

We’ve gone to Sandeep and Prathibha’s home every Diwali since Agastya turned one.  They host a puja that is so familiar because Sandeep is from the same part of India as my family; the food that he cooks is comfortingly similar too.  We attend the puja, light sparklers, eat dinner and then go home — bellies full, our hearts warmed by friendship and filled with the promise of another year.

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