Cool fall weather reminds me to breathe a bit more. The bright colored banks of mountain heather glow in the bright sunlight on an almost cloudless day. On our hike though Mt. Rainier park the air was thick with the settling mulch of fallen leaves. Each sunny day seems the last chance for yard work, for hikes, and country bike trips.

But I’m sure there will be more. It’s just hard to imagine it when the dark days are so loud and wet and blustery. Those days, wrapped in wool sweaters, huddled under blankets, tea in hand, it seems the rain will never end – even if it’s just begun. It’s those days when my stockpile of root vegetables comes in handy. A quick, chunky potato, turnip and beef stew, with chopped escarole or spinach gently wilted within, is a gift.

Holding a hot bowl of soup is when I best understand the idea of slow food. Deeply breathing in the mixed aromas of all these locally grown ingredients, along with some locally made bread and cheese sandwiches for dipping, makes me appreciate the regional bounty we have available. That’s why this week I’m going to sub-out some green leaf lettuce for baby red beets, Gala apples for acorn squash, and grapes for Full Circle Farm grown red radishes.

The potatoes and beets, carrots and leeks will make a lovely beef roast or stew. The red bok choy will make a nice side dish with rice and my Brussels sprouts on the stalk will be roasted along with the radishes and tossed in a balsamic reduction to accompany my freshly smoked Coho salmon that I’m going to grill-smoke this weekend, if it lasts until my box arrives. The Wild Waldorf salad recipe that’s in the Fresh This Week email is delicious and might be a reason to hold on to the apples. But then again, the roast acorn squash stuffed with barley sounds too enticing.

So with my changes, here’s what my box looks like for next week:

Red Potatoes                 Baby Red Beets
Leeks                            Acorn Squash
Spinach                         Valencia Oranges
Red Bok Choy                Red Radishes
Brussels Sprouts            On The Stalk
Bunched Baby Carrots    Bartlett Pears

Oh fall, you’re not so bad after all and with winter following fast on your heels I’ll be playing in snow soon enough. I might as well enjoy it while I can, get the mower out one last time, maybe do some weeding, a little pruning or maybe I’ll just take a cue from my cat and curl up in the sun on the porch. Happy Halloween everyone.