There’s Always an Upside

Fall’s Oddly Mixed Greens
Unseasonably Warm Weather Is Creating An Unusual Blend of Fresh Local Produce

By Steve Hendrix
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 13, 2007; B01

Sweet corn a month into football season. Cantaloupes and pumpkins, side by side. Sweater-weather tomatoes.

What’s next, watermelon jack-o-lanterns?

At farmers markets across the region this year, October is the new July. And that’s just fine with shoppers such as Leigh Hilderbrand, who was buying very-late-season produce Thursday at the Penn Quarter Farmers Market in the District. The Senate staffer ignored the apple cider, potted mums and winter squash in favor of the $3-a-pound heirloom tomatoes.

“I hold on to summer as long as I can, and this has been wonderful,” said Hilderbrand, who was stuffing plump tomatoes into a sack already heavy with sweet corn. “Every week I ask, ‘How much longer? How much longer?’ But it just keeps coming. I guess this is the upside of global warming.”

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Don’t even whisper that contentment around ski resorts. Plump local tomatoes well into October and the west turning into a tinderbox.

Proof of the adage that all politics is local.

But for some shoppers, the idea of finding sweet corn and cucumbers next to apple butter and kale is a bit like finding a penguin in the desert. Those who will happily thump a watermelon in the hot summer sun might find it odd in the lengthening fall shadows.

Which made me smile. Penguins in the desert. That would be as strange as a desert in the Arctic.


* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Environmental Issues, check out Opinion-Columns.com

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