Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Summer Solstice from Fiddlehead

In the month of June, everyone becomes a pagan. Even the most stern Puritan cannot deny the pleasure of the summer's first, ripe strawberry. Now, so close to the first official day of summer,  the fruitfulness of the earth begins to tell us the story of what we have planted and nurtured, what we have invested in and what has grown from our careful tending.
It's now the time for lots of greens: Swiss chard, kale, lettuce, mesclun, arugula. Having lots of greens makes me think of having lots of "green" -- money. Abundance is a wonderful thing, if it's what you want. I especially love "hot," picquant greens like arugula and mustard. Their peppery flavor tastes of good health, vigor and clarity (there's no mistaking a mustard green for iceberg lettuce in your salad!).  While some folks crave the bitter herbs, I'm not so inclined. Dandelion greens? You can keep them. I have no love for their bitter, astringent taste. They make me think of all the things that other people say are good for me. What do they know? I follow my own taste buds, and I'm never wrong. 
I look forward to a season of chard tarts, seared kale and pungent salads. 
It's also the time of the first round of berries: strawberries. Whether we turn them into jam, bake them in pies or simply eat them without adornment, strawberries are among the temperate world's most favorite foods. One of my favorite memories of Canada was eating a bowl of tiny, wild strawberries that my memere had picked herself. She is a big fan of the sweets, so the strawberries had been dusted with sugar -- and she served them in cream. Not milk. Cream. I can't say it was decadent because a breakfast so simple (only three ingredients) defies the sense of the word, but the joy of such a meal cannot be described. And, isn't this what our grandmothers are supposed to do for us -- spoil us silly with our favorite indulgences?

I am happy to say, that from the look of our farm share, abundance and indulgence are in store for us this season. What a welcome sight after such a year of economic (and personal) strife. The question becomes: what will we do with all of it? Some people express despair when they see their box of food from the CSA. They might recognize the produce, but many folks have forgotten what to do with these early vegetables. This is regrettable, since our grandparents and great grandparents certainly knew what to do with fresh, local food. With each week's box, I am reminded of the canning section in my great grandmother's cookbook. I also know that I will now have lots of greens to freeze for a dreary day in winter in need of a hot soup. I know that the compost pile at the garden will start to reap the benefits, too, producing more rich earth from all the cuttings and leftovers from the gardeners' plots and kitchens. 
What we do with our abundance is an important statement about our values and our ability to invent. Eating from the CSA box (or the garden) and not the fast food restaurant forces us to look at what we truly have, right here, right now. What if we actually had to live on it? Couldn't go to a supermarket to get more or different? Could we make it work? Make it stretch to the next week? Surely, we could with some inventiveness and will. 
Creativity, passion, intention. Clarity, discernment, hope.  These are the other green and growing things -- the intrinsic, intangible things -- I receive each week in my box. I hope I am worthy of this plentitude and use it, love it, wisely.

BTW, the image above represents only half of the share. The other half goes to Seth's mom.


Anonymous said...

Gorgeous beets! We have 'salad turnips' in our share instead. The greens are silky and deep when sauteed and the roots surprisingly sweet. Both with a swipe of butter and S&P, heaven.

I'm loving the blog, BTW. :)


Thanks for stopping by. I just made another vegetable tart with the beet greens -- so delicious!