Fall Begins September 21st

Fall is my favorite season of the year.  I feel it’s because I really embrace the suspension of high heat and humidity from the summer.  Although the colors are spectacular during this time, what I look forward to the most is the swirling of leaves from the cool fall breezes, and the crunch you hear from walking through them.  Smells come back to memory as the leaves decay from cool drizzling rains.  

My favorite food memory is pumpkin pie.  Not so much for the taste, but for my grandmother making them with the vine ripened pumpkins I pulled from her “pumpkin patch” when I was a kid.  Other ingredients that come to mind are cranberries, figs and nutmeg. But fall to me… is all about candy apples.  
A tradition I’ve adopted since moving to western North Carolina is to participate in “the making of the molasses”.  The Burnette family grows their own sugar cane and every fall, they make homemade molasses.  It started with around 25 friends gathering around a big vat skimming the solids, keeping their grandfather’s tradition alive.  The vat is mounted over a wood fired furnace which harkens back to the 1940s. Even though it takes some 12 hours or so for the sugar cane to reach caramalization, time goes by fast since everyone that comes is entertained with the telling of mountain stories.  

It is now a mountain event that attracts hundreds of people, expanding on those stories, playing bluegrass music and taking turns skimming the molasses until it is done. There is always someone making what they call “cowboy coffee”, which is nothing more than the old percolator coffee pots doing their job.  And laughter abounds from the older men who puzzle the children to figure out the difference between a cow and an ox.  And if you come, come hungry.  Tables of home cooked foods including smoked farm raised chicken, skillet fried potatoes and the best blueberry tarts will surround you. 

It's time for molasses….