August 28, 2009

A Wax Bean Winter

It was 44.2 degrees out when I got up this morning at 5:30. August 28...44.2 degrees! As I took puppy Gracie out for her walkabout, I could see the peppers in the garden shivering, while the summer squash and cucumbers were huddled together under curled leaves. This has not been a kind summer for garden - or gardeners - here on the coast of Maine and in many other parts of the country.

It will be a wax beans winter for us since that's the one thing that has produced bountifully this year. But what does this almost-over growing season mean for most of us for the coming winter? The usual routine... higher prices for foods from fruits and veggies to grain products to meat (because of the high cost of feed). Can you do anything about it? YUP, you can.

While there are still farmer's markets open and even some pick-your-own operations will be open well into the fall, stock up on whatever you can. We'll buy corn to freeze since we lost all three plantings. We'll have some tomatoes to can and there are a couple of dozen quarts left from last year. Potatoes, carrots and beets have done reasonably well, while the onions will be small.

If you don't have a garden or access to fresh produce to preserve, it's discouraging. But if you start thinking about it now, one of the best things you can do - if you have the storage space - is to start buying extra cans/frozen pacgages of those veggies you know you'll need... peas, green beans, corn, beets, stock the larder. And consider new recipes, reducing portion sizes and eliminating some of those items from your grocery list such as drinks, snacks and pre-packaged lunch products. BUT, start now.

It may be a soup, stew and wax bean winter, but you can still be well-fed AND frugal!