While it has been two months since I last posted, I have to admit spring has not been kind. That day in March was beautiful and then we ended up with more snow, sleet and cold weather. Last year’s spring came early and produce from the garden and the newly opened farmers markets was wonderful.
This year the produce has been slow going. I had carrots and onions and garlic that wintered over and lettuce growing on my front porch. This year, up until a week ago, I could pull some onions and some carrots, but the lettuce was still attempting to grow. The asparagus was giving a spear now and again. I am glad to say everything is growing and greening and producing.
Here is what comes out of the garden right now:
With lettuce and a few radishes it truly is spring.
It’s all the rage to talk about local, seasonal and sustainable food sources. I am the first to admit I LOVE the farmers markets. I tend to visit http://www.oldtownfarmersmarket.com/ because it is two miles from my home, I can ride there on bicycle and I know the vendors. It is a very personal experience.
I like the markets because of the freshness of the produce I can buy. My asparagus has been sparse, I picked some up in the grocery store and the ends were hard, woody and very dried out. I bought some from the market, the ends were green and still damp. That’s the difference in food in terms of local.
I like growing things in my own garden. The freshness that comes from just harvesting something and eating it within moments is beyond wonderful and tasty. I really know where my food comes from when I harvest it from my own garden.
I will be the first to admit that not everything I eat is local, seasonal or sustainable. Not all of the meat in my freezer comes from a local rancher, some comes from the grocery store. Some of the frozen vegetables come from the grocery store as do many of the staples in my pantry. I do not have an issue occasionally buying produce out of season (at least for Kansas) if it’s country of origin is the US or a country that I trust. There are things I am not willing to give up in order to be local for example: oranges, lemons, limes, fresh fish (since I would not eat ANYTHING that came out of the Arkansas River). I adore beautiful cheeses from Switzerland, Italy and France. I could go on, but you get my point.
For me, the first part of being local is about relationship. I do not have the time nor the inclination to grow and produce all my own food like Tasha Tudor http://www.tashatudorandfamily.com/ or Barbara Kingsolver http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/ much as I admire them and find them fascinating.
I believe that using my resources, including time, energy and finances in terms of food is important. Choosing to shop local when I can is an ethical and relational choice. Why I buy vegetables from the vendors in the Old Town Farmer’s market, I help people I know make a living. When I buy food from the Seafood Shop http://www.theseafoodshop.net/ again, I help a local business and eat well. When I buy bread from http://crustandcrumbcompany.com/ I get phenomenal crusty bread that uses wheat from local farmers.
The rewards are that my family and I eat well and I get to be in relationship with people I trust, admire and support. So I enjoy life and relationship, food, friends and family. Through my garden, the markets, the local shops, I have a way of building community.
I am deeply grateful that spring has finally “sprung.” I am delighted the garden is growing and the market has reopened. It offers me an opportunity to re-connect with old friends, have fresher produce and above to continue to enjoy life in its fullest.