My husband aimed north for Country View Bulk Foods in Snover. We don’t keep a deep pantry, which concerns my friends who’ve dehydrated vegetables and fruit in preparation for a long-term food shortage.

We’ve heard the repeated predictions since 2020 due to the broken supply chain due to COVID.

Now we’re told to expect more empty shelves and higher prices this winter due to wars, rumors of wars, and fuel shortages that impact the price of fertilizers and packaging.

Thus, I considered the bounty of squash my husband grew now stored in the basement for soups and casseroles. Yet, Mel’s tomatoes failed again this past summer. Since man cannot live on squash alone, we needed canned tomatoes for spaghetti and soups.

And potatoes, Mel’s favorite vegetable he is yet to grow.

We drove further into farm country, past familiar farmsteads, some forsaken, and a few in the joyful condition of revival. The cloudless, blue sky shined down upon a new homestead’s freshly tilled furrows and a burn pile of expired vines and plants. We passed through the wafting smoke that reached the road.

Is there a more blessed scent upon this earth?

Oh yes, fresh apples! And Country View’s selection included Mutsu (Crispin), a cross between a ‘Golden Delicious’ and the ‘Indo’ cultivars of Japan. The Mutsu and I share the 1949 birth year, which I plan to celebrate with apple crisp flavored with Nestlé’s butterscotch chips.

Faithful to my mother’s favorite pie apple, the Northern Spy, I put a bag in our basket next to the Mutsu. I’ll test their compatibility in crisps, pies, and cakes.

For generations, my Appalachian folk have dried strings of sliced apples by hanging them from the roofs of their porches. My granny loved a Dried Apple Stack Cake, which took days to complete the six layers, fillings, and glazed topping.

Although I’ll most likely never bake the labor intensive Dried Apple Stack Cake, the dehydrated apple is a tasty compliment when tossed with salad greens, toasted pecans, red onion, fine olive oil, white wine vinegar, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper.

Hmm…why not dehydrate a few Mutsu and Northern Spy? Perhaps success will lead to delicious scalloped dehydrated potatoes like my mother baked.

I scanned my list before checking out at Country View. “I forgot organic rolled oats for crisps and granola,” I said to Mel. “Would you ask an employee where to find them?”

He sped off, yet didn’t return post haste as expected. I found him waiting by a door in the back of the store.

“A guy’s looking for your oats,” he said.

The owner of Country View emerged from the storage room with two bags and passed the oats to me. “Sorry for the wait.”

“Thank you!” I said. “This was well worth it.”

Dear Reader, we drove home between fields of harvested and standing stalks of corn glittering in sunlight. And the new homestead lay prepared for next spring.

The rhythm of love for seedtime and harvest unbroken.

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