Lee MathisINSANELEE DECADENTGrand Junction Free Press Food Columnist

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August 30, 2012
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FOOD: End of summer means end of farmers' markets

Growing up on the Jersey Shore (not the TV show, but rather south of Atlantic City), Labor Day weekend meant the end of the summer season for us. In a beach community, your main season to make money for the year stretches from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day; and if you cannot make more of your money during that time, you probably will not survive for the next season.While we do not have that strict of a selling season out here in western Colorado, it really is close for those who grow the fabulous fruits and vegetables in and around the Grand Valley. Yes, we wish we could get our fresh Palisade peaches as well as the other bounties year-round, but alas, we cannot! Now there are some things we can do to enjoy these offerings throughout the winter. Canning, preserving and freezing are some great ways to stock up.You can preserve a lot of fruits and veggies by canning and freezing. You can even freeze fresh herbs. While they might not have the visuals of when they were just picked, you can freeze them in such things as ice cube trays and they do work great in recipes and such.

The last day for our local farmers markets are:• Thursdays Downtown Grand Junction Farmers' Market - Thursday, Sept. 20• Palisade Sunday Market - Sunday, Sept. 30• Fruita Saturday Market - Saturday, Sept. 22• Downtown Glenwood Springs Market - Tuesday, Sept. 25

Check out the Palisade Fruit & Wine Byway! From the Palisade Peach Festival website: For driving and bicycle road touring or cruising, take one of three routes of the Fruit & Wine Byway. Choose either 5- or 7-mile loops along the Colorado River and Palisade town region, or the 25-mile loop through orchards and vineyards on East Orchard Mesa, and visit a few wineries along the way.---------------------Lee is the founder and owner of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes and Catering. Reach him at decadencecheesecakes@mindspring.com, via the website at www.decadencecheesecakes.com, or by calling 970-256-4688. Follow the adventures of Decadence on Facebook and on Twitter.

Traditionally pounded in a mortar and pestle, this intense sauce is quick work in a food processor. A little bit goes a long way, and it keeps well. Yields about 1 cup. Courtesy finecooking.com.1/4 cup pine nuts 2 cloves garlic, smashed Pinch salt 3 cups loosely packed basil leaves, stems removed 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese Chop the nuts, garlic, and salt in a food processor until fine. Add the basil and oil and process - until smooth. Add the cheese and process to incorporate. Taste for salt.Make ahead tipsPesto freezes well for up to three months, but if you're planning to freeze it, omit the Parmesan, instead adding it to the thawed pesto just before using. To freeze, portion the pesto into ice cube trays or small plastic freezer bags so you can defrost only as much as you'll use at one time.VariationsParsley and walnut pesto: Make the basic recipe, substituting fresh parsley for the basil and walnuts for the pine nuts. For bigger flavor, lightly toast the walnuts first and add a bit of grated lemon zest to the sauce.Cilantro and pumpkin seed pesto: Make the basic recipe, substituting cilantro for the basil, toasted pumpkin seeds for the pine nuts, and a neutral-tasting oil (grapeseed or vegetable) for the olive oil. Omit the cheese; add a bit more salt.

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The Post Independent Updated Aug 30, 2012 07:09PM Published Aug 30, 2012 05:30PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.