The Old Farmer's Almanac lists the traditional period of the “Dog Days” as the 40 days beginning July 3rd and ending August 11th, coinciding with the ancient heliacal (at sunrise) rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. These are the days of the year with the least rainfall in the Northern Hemisphere. Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time "the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies." according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813. Without sounding too smug, I have to admit that as many of you across the country experienced some form of these hot summer scourges, we here in the Napa Valley had a summer of nearly perfect weather.
|at the Napa Farmer's Market|
|an heirloom plum variety called "Howard's Miracle" it has a very floral|
smell and tastes a little like grapefruit.
Many of our favorite Napa restaurants, including Oenotri, Zuzu, Norman Rose, Pizzeria Azzurro, and ABC Bakery, used the fruit on salads, in desserts, as pizza toppings, and as a topping for French toast. We also sold fruit at the Napa Farmer’s Market.
The harvest was so bountiful that I was also able to make LOTS of jam, including Peach Raspberry and Heavenly White Nectarine-Ginger, Pink Pearl Apple Butter, and soon I will be picking Mission Figs for a round of Fig Jam.
Baring any unforeseen calamities, we are expecting a great 2012 grape harvest. We will be picking the Sauvignon blanc for our White Wine blend this week. Growing conditions were close to perfect this summer, and we’re looking forward to fantastic quality wines!