It may seem strange to be writing about raspberries from a farm where they are completely out of season (all of these photos were taken in November apart from the last one), but so be it. It’s mid-winter here and I am in need of a new drink. Usually, I have a glass of wine with dinner every night, but I’ve been realising slowly and begrudgingly that as I get older, I start waking up in the middle of the night (sometimes for as much as an hour) if I’ve been drinking wine regularly. So I got myself out of the wine habit entirely during my dry January – slept like a baby for 10 solid hours every night – and now I am focused on allowing myself wine when I socialise but not on an average school night at home. Christopher, who is a non-drinker entirely, pretty much lives on Diet Coke, but I just can’t get my head around it. The only way I can force myself to get used to any kind of fake sugar drink is to load it up with ice and lemon. But why do I want to work so hard to get used to the taste of what is essentially poison? ..
It’s hard to argue that there is any meal more quintessentially English than Sunday lunch at home. Many of our friends and family members make it a weekly practice – either going for lunch at a friends house or hosting their own. As much as Christopher and I enjoy these meals, we often feel that we need Sundays to be more focused on down time – finding ourselves in the garden, on a horse, or gorging ourselves at the buffet at Soho Farmhouse instead of hosting a house full of people. With Zach at school 6 days a week, it’s the only day we have him to ourselves and we all like to sleep late and go where the day naturally takes us.
That said, from time to time, I do get inspired to cook Sunday lunch. And when I do, I like to enjoy the results of my labour with friends and family just like the English do. ..
Every autumn when I was a child, my family would chose a Saturday to pile in the car and drive at least an hour north from our home in Westchester to pick apples and buy cider. We always returned with huge bags of tangy, crisp fruit far better than anything you could buy in the supermarket. We ate as many as we could and then my mom would make the rest into apple sauce.The years of memories are hard to differentiate in my head – they have all melted together into one collection of happy fruit-picking nostalgia.
When we moved to England, and I found myself surrounded by more apples than you could possibly pick come September, the abundance quickly weighed heavily upon me. Yes we picked them. And I made a pie or a crumble, and then as much apple sauce as I could possibly make. But that didn’t even touch the surface of making the most of our apple supply. ..
I could probably fill up most of my September and October blog posts documenting my manic effort to make the most of the autumn fruit growing just outside my cottage and around the farm. But since I am still new to this and have varying levels of success, I will chose to focus on the highlights here. First and foremost, I think of September as FIG MONTH (even though you could equally argue that it’s apple, pear, blackberry or quince month). I eat figs just about every single day, mostly by choice, but there is a certain urgency to it as well. Whether still on the tree or just picked, figs are only really good for one day. You pick them a day early and the seeds are too crunchy, or a day late and the whole thing is mushy and likely half-eaten by a wasp. We just have one tree in our garden and I thank god for that because it supplies more figs than I can eat or preserve for a full six weeks each year. ..
When I was at a crossroads in my career in my late twenties, my mentor Diane Von Furstenberg encouraged me to strike out on my own, saying to me, “Every woman needs to be known for something, even if its for making the best apple pie.” I don’t think either one of us thought I would eventually take that idea so literally, but it seems that I have (if you switch the apple for rhubarb and pie for crumble). Yes, rhubarb crumble. That is my thing. ..
Last year I just kind of passively watched as the abundance of farm produce came and went with the summer and autumn seasons. I was too distracted by the move, settling the kids into school, finding a routine for myself, and updating our home to engage in any significant way with the vegetable garden or any of the trees – pear, apple, quince, elderflower, fig, blackberries – that the farm offered up. Granted, we didn’t actually have our own vegetable garden last year but on the farm there are two large ones maintained by other family members that I am always welcome to take from...
In June of 2012, I announced to the world, or at least the fashion world, that I was taking a year off to go live on a farm in rural England. So here we are at the end of September 2013, and here I am. Still. People ask me from time to time when I am coming back or what my future plans are, and so I thought I’d let you all know what I’m up to.
For starters, I love it here. For more reasons than I can explain. But the main ones are the following: I have never been more clear about who I am and what is important to me...
While I’m on the subject of weddings, can we all just take a moment to be obsessed with Rachel Chandler Guinness? I first saw her about three years ago at a fashion show. It was Tara Subkoff’s second Imitation of Christ show after attempting to take back the label she founded, and all the cool girls were there – Chloe Sevigny, Jen Brill, Liz Goldwyn – but it was Rachel I noticed most. What caught my eye were her Belgian shoes...