My train pulled into the Castleton station last night at 11:15, only a half hour behind schedule, which, for Amtrak, and this particular line, is not bad. My dad pulled up in his rustic—ok, dirty—Volkswagen right on time and we made the hour-long drive to Ferrisburgh, getting in just after midnight, with everyone else in the house already fast asleep.

I awoke to a glorious morning of sunshine, chirping, and the distant sound of a riding mower. Saturday! Time for the Middlebury Farmers’ Market. I loaded up on squash, carrots, and eggs before heading over to the Co-op for the rest of my shopping list: olives, honey, feta, mozzarella, capers, and cherry tomatoes.


As I write this, Taj Mahal is blues’ing away in the background, the sun is beginning to set, and I’m sipping a shiso sour. Shiso is a marvelous Japanese herb that tastes like mint and sometimes fennel, earthy, bold, and refreshing all at once. You may know it as perilla, and it can be green or purple. My stepmom, Bonnie, has managed to grow it each year since first planting it four summers ago.

I muddled a few of the small purple shiso leaves in a tall glass then added ice, a splash of cranberry juice, seltzer, and fresh lime juice, with a sour cherry from the tree outside as garnish. It’s sour and cold and not at all sweet and just the thing I wanted to drink right now.

Other adventures today included a stop at the Lincoln Peak Winery to buy growlers for tomorrow’s party, stocking up on Aqua Vitae Kombucha on tap from the Co-op, and checking out what else Bonnie had growing in the backyard – the arugula, mustard greens, and Romaine have almost started bolting but not quite, and the Swiss Chard looks ready for the taking. Fred the cat made a late afternoon appearance.


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