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The Tipping Point

By Heidi Lewis

Can you smell it? Can you feel it? Is it the way the light shifts or how the little events in your day change—traffic patterns, morning routines, a heavier jacket? Thoreau wrote in his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers:

“That night was the turning-point in the season. We had gone to bed in summer, and we awoke in autumn; for summer passes into autumn in some unimaginable point of time, like the turning of a leaf.”

Fall seems to have a switch like no other season. Its official demarcation is the autumnal equinox, this year on September 22. For a moment, we are poised in balance when the overhead sun is at a 90-degree angle to the equator. Then slowly, the sun’s focus starts moving toward Earth’s Tropic of Capricorn waistline, and our hemisphere moves into longer nights and shorter days.

Deciduous trees and fruit trees have a switch, too, issuing an event Thoreau called their “winter campaign.” When the nights get long enough, the trees reach their “tipping point,” where the extended darkness sets off a chain of enzyme events causing the leaves and fruit to fall to the ground. This ensures the trees’ survival as the leaves become mulch to feed the tree, and the fallen fruit disperses the trees’ seeds.

Like the action of a pendulum, the season is already swinging toward spring in its preparation for winter. Thoreau saw the spring flowers in his autumnal Massachusetts landscape: “The increasing scarlet and yellow tints around the meadows and the river remind me of the opening of a vast flower-bud; they are the petals of its corolla, which is of the width of the valleys. It is the flower of autumn, whose expanding bud just begins to blush.”

As we transition into fall, we’re seeing a wider variety of apples and pears, the start of fall and winter squash varieties, the first signs of winter citrus and root veggies, and more. Happy autumn from The FruitGuys!

Enjoy & Be Fruitful!

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