It feels a bit wrong, in the sultry September days that have so far graced the Island, to write about the changing of the seasons. And yet, as any farmer knows, hiding in the wings on these climactic summer days, the spirit of autumn whispers of its arrival on cool breezes.

“Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?” wrote John Keats, in a poem addressed to autumn. “Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find / Thee sitting careless on a granary floor / Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind.”

At markets and farmstands across the Vineyard, as the culminating weeks of summer conspire to produce a final bounty, the benevolent specter of autumn has begun to haunt the fields.

The first appearances of so-called winter squash, for instance, are a sure sign of this spirit’s arrival. At North Tabor Farm, with the characteristic agrarian incongruousness of the season, rich orange butternuts are piled alongside watermelon, while pumpkins swell to ripeness in Morning Glory’s fields.

It is perhaps the best time of the year for tomato lovers, with the plant experiencing its final, bountiful rush. Customers can expect a wide selection of ripe, sugary tomatoes from across the Island right now, from the Garden Farm on the Menemsha Crossroad to Ghost Island Farm and

Blackwater Farm in West Tisbury.

Blackwater is well worth the trip for those who have never visited the little farmstand tucked away behind Cottle’s. There, a gaggle of scruffy Rhode Island red chickens always greet you as you stroll past their enclosure by the farmstand. Inside, a broad selection of meats and veggies await.

Tomato hunters are also sure to find the best deals of the year in coming weeks, as farmers begin to sell in bulk and to offer discounts on “seconds” tomatoes. These less than perfect fruit, which have already been on offer at several Island farms, are perfect for making jarred sauce to get you through the winter.

Now is also the time to begin making hot sauce, with Radio Farm offering a stunning rainbow collection of hot peppers at their West Tisbury stand.

Another sure sign of the coming season is the appearance of fall fruits at the markets, with Asian pear at Mermaid Farm, apples at Grey Barn and white Menemsha peaches at North Tisbury. Since there aren’t many proper orchards on-Island, finding a selection of locally-grown fruit always feels a bit like discovering hidden treasure.

This was my feeling exactly when,

on a recent walk through the land bank’s Waskosim’s Rock Reservation, I encountered an ancient, wizened pear tree. Though conservation land now, this property was a farm in another century, rolling pastureland punctuated by fruit trees.

It is reminder, I think, of the indelible power of history against the ceaseless passage of time. As seasons, and newspaper columns, come and go, as the crop rotations shift and as centuries of rewilding make their mark on a formerly-agrarian landscape, there will always be a little something of the past in the present. An old, wise, moss-covered pear tree jutting out, lonely, amidst the grass.

The Farm and Field column will return next summer.