Loving Local Food
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Overheard last week at our favorite farmstand (Chipman Farm) in Maine. Uncharacteristically, there was a box of California corn for sale. Usually, they only have vegetables they grow themselves. Teenaged girls enter the farmstand, and ask the woman working “What’s the difference between California corn and Maine corn?” We were on our way back to the car, but this stopped us in our tracks. She politely answered, “California corn is grown in California, and Maine corn is grown in Maine”. The girls said, “We’d like to buy Maine corn”. Howard and I turned to each other and smirked. Howard said, “They’ll have to wait a few more months then”.
I continue to be amazed how out of touch people can be about food and seasons. We try to eat with the seasons, and this is the time of year I wait for, especially in the wasteland between the last days of winter and the long days of early spring. Summertime fresh fruits and vegetables, locally grown, are finally available.
This summer, we are members of the CSA at Waltham Fields Community Farm. We’re in the third week. So far, lots of greens (kale, collards, chard, spinach, arugula. cabbage) and spring roots (radishes, turnips, beets, scallions). I love the challenge of making meals from what we pick up each week. With this CSA, we have some choice in what we get, but it’s still limited to what’s ripe and ready and coming in from the field.
It’s also strawberry season. Last weekend, we had our annual picking and jam making weekend. We picked over 20 pounds of gorgeous strawberries at Spiller Farm in Wells Maine. Then we spent the evening making strawberry freezer jam: four batches. I prefer freezer jam to the truly canned version because the berries aren’t cooked and retain the fresh flavor when we eat it in the midst of winter. We eat a spoonful into yogurt for breakfast every morning.
Here’s a few of the things I’ve made so far:
Melissa Clark’s Tuscan Kale Salad
Shrimp with Arugula and Tomatoes
Vietnamese Chicken Salad
I also took some inspiration from what was in the refrigerator to make this early summer salad with radishes and peas. The vibrant colors were gorgeous.
Minty Radish and Pea Salad
½ cup shelled peas
12 sugar snap peapods
1 scallion, sliced
1½ Tbsp olive oil
½ Tbsp cider vinegar
½ tsp honey
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2-3 Tbsp slivered mint leaves (from 1 large sprig)
Scrub and trim the radishes. Cut half of them into quarters lengthwise. Slice the other half thinly, crosswise.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with ice and water. Blanch the shelled peas by cooking in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Scoop them out and cool in the ice bath. Boil the peapods for 3 minutes and transfer them to the ice bath as well. Drain the peas and pat dry. Cut the cooked peapods in half crosswise.
In a small jar, add olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Shake well to combine.
In a medium bowl, combine the radishes, peas, and scallion with the dressing. Add the mint leaves and toss well.
Posted on 30 June 2013, in maine, Summer CSA and tagged CSA, greens, Local, peas, radishes. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.
hope this isn’t a dupe comment – the first one disappeared. At any rate, your farm stand story made me smile. We have major work to do in the awareness raising area.
This is my second year with a CSA and even though I thought I had a good idea of what is seasonal, it has really put me in touch with the growing season here. And… it has us all eating way more vegetables :-)
We tried a CSA a few years ago, and my favorite part of it was the challenge of using everything each week. Unfortunately, my husband didn’t love the selection of veggies we got (he’s a veggie lover, but the box seemed to focus on the few veggies he doesn’t like) so we haven’t done it since. At least we grow our own tomatoes now!
Betsy, what a wonderul array of dishes you prepared using the best of the local foods you could find – just wonderful!
Have a nice Wednesday!
What a great Post, Betsy. I am proud to be your administrative colleague. You’ve been finding, making and buying some wonderful and nutritious food. The entire Aspen Food & Wine Festival was about eating locally and buying what’s in season. These chefs and purveyors are absolutely passionate about it and, with transportation costs, it’s our future so Americans better be climbing on board. Agree with you about Tuna. If I buy it in a can, I purchase the best stuff I can, always in olive oil. When I was in LV I bought the TJoe’s in olive oil. I miss TJ’s. I prefer Colorado corn but am now eating California corn. Please ask Howard what the difference is between California corn and Colorado corn?!? XOXOXO