It’s the only time of the year out-of-state license plates outnumber those proclaiming “Vacationland.” It’s the time when the motel up the road from me is a little embarrassed its permanent sign reads “Now! Heated Units!” It’s the month when back-to-schoolers swarm through the outlets in Freeport and the Staples in Brunswick.
And it’s the busiest time of the year for farmers’ markets.
Home-made cheeses, eggrolls and cinnamon rolls are as available there as blueberries, zucchini, and tomatoes. And “free range eggs,” of course. This year my husband is usually the one patronizing the local markets since I’m trying to make a September 1 manuscript deadline (THREADS OF EVIDENCE) and prepare for a September 6 publication date (SHADOWS ON A MAINE CHRISTMAS). But he brings the market home to me.
This is the time of year for some of my favorites: fried summer squash. Mussels in herbed wine. Scalloped tomatoes. Blueberry pie, cake, pancakes, and muffins. Just-picked sweet corn. (Simmering the cobs and leaves results in a fantastic broth that will be the basis for corn chowder later on.) Lobster, of course. My current favorite way to eat it is in a lobster club sandwich with crisp bacon and fresh tomatoes and lettuce. Yum! (Lobster broth is also simmered and used later for haddock chowder.)
My husband, who grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, makes hummus. We nibble it, along with Hahn’s End cheeses, on our porch overlooking the river. He indulges in wine or Scotch. I’m limited to lemonade for a while …. with deadlines approaching, I’ll go back to writing or editing after dinner. Dinner itself? Perhaps panko-fried haddock. Sliced tomatoes. Cole slaw made from young cabbage and carrots. That sweet corn. For dessert? Locally made ice cream with berries to top it if we feel in the mood to indulge.
Or perhaps just steamed mussels with French bread to dunk in the wine and herb and butter broth. I’d be embarrassed to tell you how many mussels we can consume at one meal. Like the local oysters and clams available this time of year, they taste of the sea.