|Can you believe a fruit fly got on my nice picture?|
A week or two ago I went for a winding ride, which is always a pleasure this time of year. The clouds were high and puffy, and the sun perfectly warm, the breeze perfectly cool, and best of all, my son, now three years old, fell asleep as we drove. The nap is a rarity these days, but for the most part, it's still very welcome. You know when you are driving and you sort of think you know where you're going, but you couldn't say precisely the way you were going? I knew where I wanted to end up, but I was guessing at the turns I was taking. Well, all the turns I took got me to where I was going in a perfect sort of way, sort of the way you wish life went all the time. I pulled into the driveway that has a small sign saying, Locust Grove Fruit Farm. No one was there, and I was able to get out and take in the view of the Hudson, which stretched out below the fruit tree lined hill.
I let a few minutes pass before I called the number to reach someone. They answer the phone like it's their home, which it is, and I say I'm down by the barn, to buy quinces. There's some confusion even though I've called ahead, as they're older and the cell phone doesn't have the best sound. "She wants to buy quinces!" I hear the woman say loudly, and I can tell the man, her husband, finally gets it, and says he'll be right there. I've talked to the whole family, but I've talked with her the most, and we've chatted about canning, mostly. "Most people don't want to talk about canning these days," she told me, wistfully, "but I hear it's changing."
I squint in the sun at all the trees around me. When he arrives a few slow minutes later, he leads me into the barn and is quite proud to show me his quinces. "Look at these. Amazing, aren't they?" he asks, and I agree. They are gorgeous, sweet-smelling quinces, covered with a bit of fuzz, half green, a bit of yellow shining through. "People don't realize how hard this all is," he says, waving his hand at the bins of apples and quinces. We talk some more, and he shows me some pears in the large cooler, and we agree we both like Bartletts better than Boscs. I notice a few pints of raspberries off to the side, and ask if there are any more. "Nope," he says, and when I ask to buy them, he says,"they're expensive." I take them anyway, as I never got enough of them this year.
He carries the forty-pound box out to my car, though it's probably not as easy as it once was. He gives me two Bartlett pears to eat. I give him a jar of jam for his wife. As I drive home, my son still sleeping, the smell of the quinces fills the slightly hot car. I think about the quince jam I'm going to make, the jelly, and of course, some membrillo. I think of how long those quince trees have been producing; the farm has been working since 1820! It makes me feel like I've got time in a box, sweet smelling time, and I'm going home to make it last even longer.
I know that lately there is a lot of interest in quinces, although some people never stopped being interested in them. One of the daunting things about quinces is that they are so hard, you sometimes wonder how to approach them. I've been chopping up quite a few of these, and this is how I do it. How much do you love quinces? What are you making with them? Leave a link, or recipe, or both!