Susan Mihalic

Susan Mihalic
August 05
Writer & editor. Passionate about freedom of expression. Liberal, aspiring to be pointy-headed. Follow me on Twitter: @susanmihalic.


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AUGUST 8, 2011 11:21PM

Summer Harvest

Rate: 16 Flag

farmers market flowers

Potted plants (aka "pot plants" in the South--I kid you not) at the local farmers' market. 

I always feel bad for houseplants that are given to me. I know better than to buy them myself, because I will kill them. I don't set out to kill them, but inevitably, my houseplants die a slow, lingering death. I once had a fiddleleaf fig that survived for years with one leaf. One. I watered it less, I watered it more, I moved it into different light, I silently begged it to die and stop reproaching me with its one pitiful, stubborn leaf. 

To say I don’t have a green thumb is akin to saying that some of the passengers on the Titanic got a little bit wet. This is how un-green my thumb is: I’ve killed mint. People say you can’t kill mint. Maybe you can’t. I can.

My lack of innate skill is combined with—frankly—a lack of interest. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, okay? I'm about the fauna more than the flora. Plus, I live in the high desert. This isn’t exactly prime gardening ground—unless you really know what you’re doing.

taos mountain

I'm happy with the sage and the view.  

Fortunately, the good people who run roadside produce stands and set up booths at the local farmers’ market know exactly what they’re doing. Here’s a sampling of the fresh, locally grown, organic produce that the boyfriend and I found one hot, sunny weekend this summer. Bon appétit.

Sopyn's Fruit Stand, in Rinconada, just south of Taos,
promises sweet cherries . . . 
Sopyns fresh tomatoes
. . . as well as farm fresh tomatoes. 
Sopyns tomato baskets
Two of these tomatoes were soon turned into tomato sandwiches,
the highest and best use of a farm fresh tomato. 
Yellow Indian corn
The stand also had ears of miniature Indian corn  . . .
Sopyns indian corn red 
. . . which crafty people would probably make into a wreath
or something, but if you expect to see that on my blog,
you're in the wrong place.
sopyns squash
Sopyn's also had squash, which is apparently easy to grow,
but, as you know, I've killed mint.
outsider art 
Across the road is the outsider art gallery--not technically a fruit. 
Taos Farmers Market
Every Saturday in the summertime, the Taos Farmers' Market is open.
Eggplant! I love the exclamation point. Yes! Eggplant!
I want one! And I want an exclamation point, too! 
blackberries & cherry tomatoes 
Beautiful fat blackberries and cherry tomatoes. 
Carrots and onions . . .  
Root vegetables always remind me of fall soups and stews. 
more veggies
farmers market tomatoes 
More tomatoes. Scientifically they are a fruit, but the Oxford Dictionaries tell us that because they are savory rather than sweet, they may be considered vegetables in cooking. Well, that's a relief.
I'd hate to get into it with the Oxford Dictionaries. But I would if I had to. Because I'm a houseplant-killing, hair-splitting, tomato-loving woman.


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I wanted to include the photo of the palm reader at the farmers' market, but my inner journalist wouldn't allow me to because I hadn't obtained a model release from her. I can't garden worth a damn, but I am ethical.
Susan, I am in awe of your photographs. Who needs house plants when you capture fauna and fruit so beautifully. None of us can do or want to do everything, after all. Rated.
Rate didn't stick first time around. Now maybe?
I have got to hit the Farmer's Market too. And a tomato sandwich is now on the agenda. Thanks for reminding me of some of the most enjoyable things about summer.
This made me smile! Love the photos! Love the eggplants! Love the exclamation point! These are really beautiful, Susan. ~r
Delicious and colorful post! Thank you!!
Sorry I'm infected by the exclamation mark too!

I enjoyed this! I read your post and then went back up and scrolled down a couple of times and a veritable feast of colour and summer passed before my eyes! : )

I have never seen nor heard of Indian corn before either!
I love summer eating! I miss my plants, I do well with them but we have dreaded stink bug season coming so I didn't load up on flowers this year.
Thanks for this. And yes I will ask, how do you kill mint?
Delightful essay, and gorgeous photos. I wish I was a person who appreciated vegetables, but alas, can only really admire from afar, or in photo frames. I will see your "I've killed MINT" and raise you with "but I've killed VENUS FLY TRAPS and they catch their own food!" Yes, in fact I've got that same black thumb when it comes to house plants (even most of the cacti seem to pass on), but the boyfriend managed to cultivate a--if not hellbent enthusiasm for, a cautious optimism about--small knack for putting potted plants in the ground and expecting them to take root a few years ago. Here's a link to my journey!
wendyo, thank you. I agree: We can't do everything.

Linnnn, enjoy the tomato sandwich. I had mine on sourdough.

Joan, thank you! Eggplants and exclamation points for everyone!

Golden Phoenix, there are plenty to go around! And thanks!

Little Kate, thank you. I think Indian corn is edible, but primarily it's used decoratively.

rita, apparently I overwatered the mint. I didn't mean to--but I planted it in an area that received runoff when it rained, and we had a lot of rain that summer.

Mary, well done! Your Venus Fly Trap definitely trumps my mint!
Oh this is a real mouth watering post. Thanks for showing us the good earth bounty.
Susan, you don't need to grow fruits and vegetables if you have a farmers' market like this. What I would give to wander around in it with you for an afternoon! I'm thinking ratatouille...
I know some gardeners who would appreciate lessons on how to kill mint....your special skill. great photos...inspirational...tomato sandwich today!
You can kill mint? Seriously? Please come over to my house and kill my weeds! I have a feeling you could make yourself a mint (pun intended) by laying your hands on those persistent, noxious weeds that nothing else seems to be able to kill.

P. S. Lovely photos!
So beautiful, I really love the colors and the views you gave us here!
I think I'd be willing to trade a tomato or two for that view of the mountain and sage.
Delicious and vibrant post. I love exclamation points too!!! =- }
CoyoteOldStyle, my sentiment exactly: Why torture some poor plants myself when truly talented gardeners make such beautiful produce available?

Liberal, I never thought of mint-killing as my special skill before, but you have shifted my perspective. I bet I could kill kudzu.

Lisa, thank you. You may be right--even my weeds are skimpy!

Sheila, thanks.

Sarah, I know, right?!

blufeather, normally I avoid exclamation points, but the eggplant exclamation point was just so happy--woo hoo! Eggplant!
oh my, focus your efforts on Kudzu.....the earning potential for you is enormous.....fame/adoration and cash would come your way
wonderful post, loved every paragraph and your first hilarious comment. killing mint is *quite* an accomplishment, missy. but i'm with you on the food-growing gig - don't do it and can't see why when so many people do it so well and sell it right down the road to ever-grateful me. and, mmmmmm, tomato sandwich.
Liberal, I'm thinking "We Kill Kudzu" would be an excellent name for a company. It's short and to the point. I'm starting to plan the commercial spots--maybe I can get the ShamWow guy as our spokesperson.

Candace, thank you. I always feel as if I should be better with plants . . . but I'm really, really good with animals, so I think that makes up for it.