The scents and colors of nature let us know: summer is behind us and we are heading towards autumn. A period in which the exuberant summer makes way for the subdued warm natural colors. Time to harvest.
And we do that by bicycle.
We start our cycling tour in the woods of Gaasterland. The sun shines through the leaves, making them breathtakingly beautiful. The shades of yellow, red, brown and a little green light up the foliage. We sniff the scent of late summer. We don't have to go to America for the Indian Summer. For us, it starts at bicycle junction 20 in Southwest Friesland.
Eleven Cities "treasure" Sloten
In search of "slow food", we cycle on over the Gaasterland slopes to the Eleven-cities town of Sloten. Here we discover our first treasure, De Kaai corn mill. It is a striking beacon on the rampart. In the summer months the cannon roar still sounds here. Now you only hear the whirring of the blades. Miller Tanja Kombrink warmly welcomes us and tells us that the grain harvest was back in August. Every Saturday the mill grinds the grain between the huge millstones into flour with wind power. This is still the real craftsmanship. We fill the bicycle bag with farmer's pancake mix and cake mix. The basis for delicious autumn baking has been laid.
Tough bike ride
We leave the moraines landscape and cycle along the hamlet of Spannenburg towards the North, into a peat and lake area. In the distance we see the open sea of the Slotermeer with long plots in the foreground, the "stretching" allotments. A strong wind blows through our hair and with a headwind it is a tough bike ride.
We decide to swap the bicycles for a chair and a cup of coffee with sweets on the Ee in the water sports village of Woudsend. In the background we see the blades of the flour mill Het Lam and a little further on the sawmill De Jager saws robust tree trunks into usable wood. We continue cycling.
“ A strong wind blows through our hair and with a headwind it is a tough bike ride ”
An arrow points towards Pluktuin De Bascule in the village of Hommerts. It is immediately clear here that September is the harvest month. The pasture is a true oasis of color. We walk into the garden with basket and scissors. We see different compartments filled with flowers, courgettes, cucumbers and many types of pumpkins with special names
such as the Hokkaido and Patisson.
The Patisson is white and related to the courgette. It looks like a flying saucer. Trinalda, the owner of Pluktuin De Bascule, explains that the Patisson can be processed in many ways, delicious for soup, in a pie or filled with a dip sauce, for example. "And the pumpkin seeds can also be used in delicious pesto!" Trinalda transforms our picked sunflowers, dahlias, cosmea, grasses and chrysanthemums into a beautiful field bouquet. Our only concern is, how do we get this on the bike?
Courgettes, pumpkins and flowers are bulging from the bicycle bag. Enough ingredients harvested and time to start the retreat. We cycle close to the water along the Slotermeer; our reflection looks like a harvest festival. That is also how it feels, like a harvest festival on a bicycle. While cycling through Balk, we look for the shelter of the Gaasterland forests, towards the Indian Summer. We return somewhat tired but certainly satisfied. It has literally and figuratively become a tough bike ride with the "Patissons", the picked herbs and the (ground) corn. And now quickly into the kitchen!
About 50 km via junctions
(cycle to Pluktuin De Bascule)