When I began this blog, summer was without a doubt my favorite season for food. I looked forward to summer highlights like piles of stone fruit, ripe tomatoes, and sweet corn all year long. But lately, I find spring is my favorite season. I love the anticipation and finding a new ingredient available each week, especially after so many months of the same roots and hardy greens. First there are chives, followed by green garlic, then ramps, lettuce, asparagus, and finally, strawberries. For years now, as I’ve savored these moments at my own farmer’s market or in my garden, I’ve also enjoyed experiencing the spring awakening through my friend Aimée.
I’ve come to think of learning about seasonal food from the comfort of a Brooklyn address as akin to being a teenager, when you’re the all-knowing king of the teensiest sliver of actual life. The teenage world is prescribed; their intricate social customs and language have little bearing on the world at large. In your heart, you feel like you’ve figured it all out, but have yet to consider all the things you don’t know, with the compromise and complexity of adult life only a distant possibility. For better or worse, to be teenaged is to exist in a bubble.
In the same way, I thought I knew a lot about local food when I lived in New York City. [Read more…]
Peak tomato season in Virginia means there are expansive flats of heirlooms at every market. It also means that there are plenty of cast-offs. And, as far as canning’s concerned, it’s cast-offs you should be after. It may take some asking around, but you can generally find someone to sell you dented, bruised, or otherwise compromised tomatoes at cut rate.
In search of tomato deals, last weekend we piled in the car and drove down to the town of Scottsville for country prices. [Read more…]
Yesterday we had our third March snowstorm. What was predicted to be a dusting, changed to an all day, several inches type of affair. And somehow, blessedly, school was not cancelled. With the house to myself, I spent the morning watching the snow fall and cooking up some spring comfort food (even if the weather begged to differ). [Read more…]
I’m prone to think myself an expert on too wide an array of topics. Brian’s similarly afflicted, so in this way, and the fact that we’re both not the dollars and cents types, we’re a bad match. Or at least, he’s not the absolute yin to my yang. One way we both learned we knew much less than we had thought we did was moving to Virginia. In Brooklyn, artisan products and farm-fresh produce (that you buy from the farmer) are available almost any day of the week at one of the city’s Green Markets and also at local specialty shops like the Bedford Cheese Shop or the Meat Hook. Not only that, but because vendors range from Vermont to southern New Jersey, we enjoyed a particular food’s season longer as it stretched up the eastern seaboard. Here in a small city in central Virginia, vendors aren’t exactly flocking, so eating locally has a far more strictly defined meaning. That’s one of the main reasons we were thrilled to have signed up for a CSA. (Have you sent in your check yet?) [Read more…]
After returning from my morning rounds today, I cranked the oven to full blast, threw a big pot of water on the stove, and set about making this roasted carrot and beet salad. While I washed and peeled and chopped, I watched the birds (now out in force and doing their bird thing with no mind for the human world) and went over my to-do list, the top of which is getting signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Last year, we moved here right at the tail end of sign-ups, and just let it slip. But as the growing season progressed, Brian and I realized we’d made a huge mistake. Not only do CSAs do much to support local farmers as they begin their seasons by providing financial security no matter what the summer brings, CSAs benefit members too. [Read more…]