Labor Day

Top 9 Reasons the Ninth Month is Not My Favorite

by Anne Maxfield on September 2, 2019

Accidental Locavore Gala Apples

It’s Labor Day and I didn’t feel like laboring so please enjoy this post from a few years ago.

Those of you who know me, know September is not my favorite month and here’s why:

  1. It’s the end of summer! If it wasn’t apparent enough by the days getting shorter, back-to-school ads (yeah, ok, those start in July) and everything with “end of summer clearance”, the words “Labor Day” seemingly cannot be uttered without adding “the last weekend of the summer”. It’s really like rubbing your nose in it.
  2. Just because it’s September, doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up the grill. Even in New York, we generally grill until the food would get cold coming the short distance from the grill to the house, or we have to dig a path to the grill, (i.e. January).
  3. Therefore, I’m not ready to start braising anything! My theory: it’s not braising weather until there are no tomatoes or corn left at the farmers markets. When butternut squash is all you can find, it’s time for slow-cookers and Dutch ovens. After all, how many recipes for grilled butternut squash do you know?Accidental Locavore Moroccan Squash Soup
  4. Food I haven’t cooked. At the end of every summer, there’s always a huge list of things I wanted to try and didn’t. That’s not to say I wasn’t cooking, the blog (and my waistline) will vouch for that. It’s just that there’s so much you can do with all the great summer foods! And maybe because the gap from the last of the tomatoes to the first of the asparagus is a long one.
  5. I will park the white pants, shoes and bags, but that’s more a matter of upbringing than anything else. Wearing white after Labor Day never feels right to me, and, as we all know, if you don’t feel good, you don’t look good.
  6. When the temperature is above 80 degrees, cashmere, down, knee-high boots and everything else in the stores are nothing I want to come in contact with. Save them for the other ___ber and ___ary months. God knows they last long enough!
  7. I hate fall! There, I’ve said it. To me there is nothing intrinsically good or valuable in days getting shorter and watching things die. To the editor of Hudson Valley Magazine, you are wrong, wrong, wrong about fall being most people’s favorite season. Got it? Wrong!
  8. Even the music is depressing. See You in September, Wake me up When September Ends. September Song, September in the Rain, The September of my Years, not an upbeat tune among them!Accidental Locavore Dog and Football
  9. Football…enough said.

And what I like about September? Oh, just give me a while, I’m sure I can come up with something…




Consider the Onion

by Anne Maxfield on September 2, 2013

Accidental Locavore Basket of OnionsIn honor of Labor Day, the Accidental Locavore would like you to take a closer look at an onion. Why an onion and why on Labor Day?

As it turns out, there is an awful lot of labor connected with something as everyday as an onion and with all food. Having completed my required hours at the Poughkeepsie Farm Project (my CSA) I am left with a renewed respect for the people who raise the food that we eat. It’s hard work!

Back to the onions. When they’re ready to be harvested, they’re dug up, then transported to the greenhouse and spread out on racks to dry in a controlled (i.e. relatively pest and weather-proof) environment. This can take up to a month. Once the onions are dried, they need to be spruced up. Another thing we usually take for granted. We want perfect produce. But perfect produce doesn’t happen on its own and what I’ve learned from the farm is that there’s a lot of work in making the food we eat attractive enough to take home to transform into tonight’s dinner.

Accidental Locavore Drying OnionsBack again to the onions. A team of workers (today it was us), goes through each onion, checks it for usability (fine, seconds and compost), cuts off all but ½” of the growth, takes off all the muddy, yucky layers, removes the roots and carefully bags the now-perfect onion (the seconds and compost onions go in separate bins). It’s not hard work, especially in terms of what goes on in harvesting vegetables, but it’s much more labor-intensive then I ever imagined when I reach for an onion.

Later, when I got my well-earned sandwich at the local diner and saw the onions on it, I paused, thinking about how much it took to get those onions onto that plate and was very happy and appreciative. So, on this Labor Day, when you pop that perfect late-summer tomato into your mouth, or slice up an onion to top a burger, pause for a moment and think about the hard work that went into it and give a quiet thank-you for the farmers who do this for us.