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Here in south Alabama, under a summer sky bleached white as bones, my garden is finally slowing down. Only those intrepid heat-lovers, okra and eggplant, are still yielding daily produce. The roma tomatoes have gone to sleep. The sunflowers have bowed their heads. To the delight of the bees, most of the basil has gone to flower.

September — often our most oppressively hot month — still yawns like a vast chasm between here and cooler fall days. So this is a time to turn the soil, tend the compost pile, contemplate winter plantings … and wait.

While we’re waiting, here is a wonderful tomato poem by chef Milton Brasher-Cunningham, author of the amazing blog Don’t Eat Alone, and a scrumptious sounding recipe for cold canteloupe soup to provide relief from this week’s record-breaking high temperatures: 

Cold Cantaloupe Soup With Blueberry Papaya Relish
Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients 

      1 ripe papaya, cored and chopped
1 tb fresh lemon juice
     1/2 c  fresh blueberries     
      2 tb fresh mint chiffonade
      1 lg ripe cantaloupe, peeled and chopped
      2 tb fresh lime juice
   1 tb honey
     
Instructions

How to Prepare the Relish:

1.Combine the papaya, blueberries, lemon juice and mint in a medium
bowl. 2.Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

How to Prepare the Soup:

1.Place the cantaloupe, lime juice, and honey in a blender and blend
until smooth. 2.Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the relish.