Racine’s Farm Stand in North Adams.

Ramshackle large house, badly weathered, in need of paint.

People of faith, hard to know how many live there.

Old lady that manned the stand. Just as ancient as analog cash register.

Clanged when she made change.

Taking her time to make a transaction.

Passed away a few years back. We always exchanged kind words.

“Putting you to work” I would quip.

She flashed a slow, largely toothless grin.

No doubt liked being useful doing the Lord’s work.

Now skinny, wired kid does the job as well as the other lady.

Sometimes residents sitting around in stuffed chairs.

Chatting with one.

”What do you do with the seconds” she asked?

“Make sauce” I said.

“Freeze it” she asked?

“No, just enough for a couple of meals” said I.

Astrid is gulten free but my pasta is DeCecco which is the best.

That texture makes all the difference when you go to the trouble to make a fresh sauce.

Astrid likes my gravy because the fresh tomato is less acidic and even a bit sweet.

I fry up Vidalia onion which helps with garlic, fresh herbs. Mushrooms, and a can of tomato paste.

It’s how, back in Brooklyn, my grandmother taught my newly wed mother how to feed a Sicilian family.

A constant at Racine’s the farmer in overalls seemingly in charge.

Last weekend, mid September, I went for a bucket of seconds.

Price has gone up from nine to twelve dollars.

And fewer tomatoes.

Ripe, juicy beefsteaks bursting with flavor.

Each week something different. Fresh sauce with sausages, Bolognese, gazpacho, salsa.

Platters of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. Green beans and nice russet potatoes.

Made a batch of French fries in the Cosori.

“Them’s the last of em” the farmer said in his laconic way referring to the tomatoes.

“That rain didn’t help” (some four inches) she said. “Vines soaked it up and split the skins.”

May go back this weekend for acorn squash, peppers, and last of the cukes.

They were huge this year. Twice the size of ones in Big Y and cheaper too.

From beginning of August, through first frost, fresh corn. Vegan meals a couple of times each week. One night fish and sushi.

Astrid likes shumai. On Wednesday there’s five buck sushi usually California roll. Now and then, Wellfleet oysters, or PEI mussels.

Those are fun nights eating at the counter because of all the mess. We’re getting better at shucking oysters though some put up a fight.

When in P’Town we get a dozen each during Happy Hour.

They used to sell the corn right next to Racine’s. But they retired a couple of years ago.

Now we get it all over and spread out.

One stand in Williamstown down the road a spell.

Just get their corn, not the other stuff they don’t grow and charge too much.

“Where you been” the farmer said the other day. “Only seen you a couple times this summah.”

Ramschackle Home of Racine's Farm in North Adams

Fields of Racine's Farm

A bucket of tomato seconds for $12

Pepper Seconds

Spaghetti Squash

Swapping Recipes at The Farm Stand

Making a Fresh Sauce

”How much longah” I asked?

“Couple more weeks, you can never tell” he said. 

Averting his eyes I slunk back to the car. 

I miss our house in Adams. We had basil, dill, cilantro, arugula and herbs steps from the kitchen. And wonderful flower beds. 

Astrid liked to snip a salad for dinner. 

From our loft she tends a little patch and is out there pretty much every day.

Or transplanting potted plants. We live in a jungle.

This summer our giant cactus drooped over. The cuttings made lots of babies. 

From our river room overlooking the water fall, red is spotting the vines that droop over the wall. 

It’s getting dark earlier each night.

Overall, it’s been a great summer with us pensioners cutting back. 

Just enough theatre to make it interesting. But no Tanglewood or Jacob’s Pillow. 

Would have liked to see Van Morrison again. 

Not to say we just sit around sipping herbal tea. 

Never enough hours in a day to get stuff done. 

Projects keep us young.

Sharks have to keep swimming.