Saturday, September 12, 2009

Reflections from a newly birthed locavore.

For the first time in many months, I was actually inspired to write a blog.  It's unfortunate that I just now seized the opportunity, because I've missed an entire summer that I could have shared with you the amazing benefits of belonging to a CSA and the joys of discovering mashed kohlrabi, stuffed zucchini, baked oatmeal, and plenty of other good things you can create if you have Simply in Season and read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

The journey of food this summer has been a return to something more ethereal than I'd really experienced since I spent 12-15 hours a week practicing ballet.  It connected me to the Creator, and it allowed me to experience how connected we are to the earth.  Every Thursday, as I'd rinse the fresh soil off our zucchini, or carefully pluck the basil leaves from the stems, I reflected on how the Creator loves us so much he wanted us to enjoy the very things we put in our bodies to give us nutrients.  I reflected on how much easier it is to be separated from the Creator when we're so far removed from the food he gave to us...when we subsist on frozen pizza, Doritos and cola, we think that capitalism and retail are the providers rather than the Provider. 

My husband has been an eager partner on this journey, delighting in his discovery of the doughnut peaches (which cannot be consumed without a gutteral moan escaping one's chest from the sheer pleasure of eating such a succulent piece of fruit).  This evening, much to my surprise, he even jumped at the chance to make ceviche from scratch, so while I picked up a few pounds of fresh red snapper on sale, he picked up 1/4 lb. of fresh shrimp meat.  When we arrived home, making due with what we had on hand,  he added the shrimp to some salsa (which he strained and rinsed because I wanted to save this week's amazing heirloom tomato for some caprese salad or ratatouille later in the week), added lime juice, salt, and his favorite: a tiny zucchini and fresh organic chili peppers from this week's CSA share.  As he inhaled the ceviche, along with our red snapper tacos (accented by a zucchini/scallion slaw he made as well as shredded radishes), he said, "Wife, I'm so glad we got this veggie and fruit share.  Thanks."  I said, "You're welcome.  I feel like we love food more than we did before."  

Right now, in our tiny apartment, we think about what we could grow in a garden of our own, and we speculate about how we would keep our neighborly raccoons and feral cats away.  (Clay's solution to this problem is singular: air-soft gun.  I always squeal in horror and say, "No...animal control.")  But for now we're too lazy to kill the coons and/or call animal control, which is fine, because September isn't the best month for launching a vegetable garden anyways.  

But as a I look with dread to Thanksgiving, in which we celebrate the harvest but say goodbye to our CSA for 6 months, I pine for a cupboard full of jars of my own tomatoes, a freezer full of zucchini, and an arbor of braided garlic adorning the entrance to the kitchen.  I fortunately have a few jars of peaches and apricots, along with some jams and chutneys, all of which I canned myself.  I also have a few bags of beans in the freezer, as well as the blueberries that made me fall in love with fruit and blackberries we picked in our backyard.  I will mostly likely ration and savor each serving over a long winter and spring as a reminder of the summer when food stopped tasting as it always had and began tasting like something much better.

Sometimes I reflect on how we've been eating and look around to my friends and worry we're a part of some Gen-Y, Seattle liberal, neo-hippie fad.  Other times I see the cover story on last week's Time and think we're on the verge of an urban-to-rural migration, back to the farm, back to the garden, where people in mass reject 2 generations of processed food that was marketed to our parents and grandparents by the food companies who'd refitted their factories for WWII and needed to find a way to market it to a post-war America.  (I heard this great interview with this historian talking about this, and now I can't find it, so I promise to cite it as soon as I can.)

Regardless of the neo-hippieness of our personal agrarian journey, I'm loving life more as a result of being introduced to the world of farm-fresh fruits and veggies.  If you find yourself loving food and willing to experiment, I promise a wonderful world awaits...and yes, it's a world full of dinners that can be ready in 30 minutes or less.  Bon appetit.


wren said...

I grew basil, tomatoes, and peruvian peppers on my balcony this summer. Basil was by far the most "fruitful" and peruvian peppers the most "pretty." The tomato, however, is currently yielding a crop of one, which I'll harvest today. That one is not an experiment I'll repeat--he's more trouble than he's worth. :P

hannah faith said...

i'm totally copying you and joining a csa in january...bring on the parsnips!