I arrived to the market an hour before its close. The piles of melons for sale were low and many of the remainders were so ripe they wouldn't last the day out. The melons reminded me of the question I'd asked myself as I rode the bus to the market, had I missed summer not going to the August markets and not making a single jar of jam this month?
There was a fully waxed and on the wane feel at the market. The melons of course, the bargain boxes of tomatoes and peaches, and loads of apples and pears whispering about fall with the first heirloom squash sitting like plump specimens signaling, not for me to buy them, but for me to come deeper into the farm's stand and pick out ruby yellow peppers for gazpacho.
And what did I buy for jam-making? I felt like a student unwilling to move on from a fling started in spring. I don't want to go back to school accepting apples, Damsons, and free-stone peaches as my companions. So I didn't and I brought home more strawberries!
I have a similarly youthful association with nectarines. It's because of the tart that accompanies the sweet. Peaches are for the mature, those people who notice the fuzz on the skin and like it. They eat the fruit slowly, allowing the mess, meeting it with a relishing calm that makes the experience look a little provocative. But that's not me yet and I buy nectarines like I'm proudly playing bad pop music.
At home I haven't made anything in the kitchen since I got back from California that had a statement of "I'm here!" about it. That's an important moment to have before I can settle into a kitchen project. I know eggs may not seem like the ultimate statement of kitchen presence, but when they are River Farm eggs fried in butter, edges crisped, eaten with homemade salsa and a glass of wine, all while sitting down, it's pretty special. Now the kitchen feels like mine! And now I shall calculate the right honey to fruit ratios for nectarines and strawberries with the help of the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook.