...is my favorite time of year.
Because "real summer" like other people get doesn't really happen here in the Pacific Northwest until pretty late. Late enough that once we finally get into the summer swing, my friends elsewhere are already looking forward to simmering pots of hearty soup, cozy sweaters, and of course sending the kids back to school.
Most years, we get a beautiful little summer in September; nights may be cooler and leaves starting to turn, but to me, it counts as summer - and I soak it in however I can.
This is also the time when the stars of my garden finally shine: the tomatoes are ripening! 11 plants, 8 varieties, a whole lot of yummy going on this year.
The season starts with meticulously-pruned stems, trained to single bamboo stakes. As summer progresses and I get sloppier with pruning, unruly vines laden with heavy fruit require some creativity; here a holey-fingered garden glove gently props an unusually heavy vine atop a thick bamboo post.
Most of the rest of the garden is slowing down a bit, but there are still goodies to discover
even my little artichokes decided to give me a second round this year.
Given our cool, short summers, it's been a long time since I had even bothered with peppers, but I grew a couple this year.
The plants are tiny, but our recent warm stretch has given me some pretty little Black Czech hot-peppers and jalapenos.
Today's harvest seems to have a theme...
...so I followed its lead.
I'm usually a lime-in-my-salsa girl, but my sister sent me home the other day with a couple of gorgeous and super-juicy Meyer Lemons. So pretty. And yummy.
I added some garlic, cilantro, and salt...
oh man, this smells good.
No 2 batches of salsa are ever the same, especially when it's just made with whatever is ripe at the moment, but it's always better if it's given some time for the flavors to combine. Let's see how long we can resist.
While cleaning up, I noticed that I'd left out one of the jalapenos that I'd picked. And there was extra chopped cilantro. And I had a huge ripe mango waiting to be eaten. And my limes were feeling left out.
A couple chunks of leftover pineapple, another sweet little onion, and of course more garlic...
...and I was starting to get hungry for snacks.