Last week Dan and I picked up our first box of vegetables from Harmony Valley, a small local farm that we are in relationship with through Community Supported Agriculture. Every Thursday from now until the next frost we will have a box of veggies waiting for us in a random garage by Como Lake. It took us a while to jump on the CSA train because we live a half block from a co-op that does a good job of stocking its shelf with local produce. But we are thrilled that we finally took the plunge.
We looked in our first box and laughed aloud. We could not identify the vast majority of our veggies. I could throw out a horrible statistic about how many third graders in the US can identify a cauliflower, but I will skip it. Dan and I eat very intentionally, we eat well, we eat healthy food. But we are giddy about expanding our vegetable vocabulary. After some searching, we realized we had black Spanish raddish, kale, wild leeks, parsnips, chives, sorrel, Jerusalem artichokes (which are neither from Jerusalem, nor are they artichokes) and spinach to make our dinner with. We rinsed the Minnesota dirt off, peeled, sliced, diced, added some white wine and oil and sat down to dinner.
It tasted ok. Not great, just ok. But that is not the point, is it? It tasted like the right thing to do. It tasted like we were supporting small farmers who want us to come visit so we know who is growing our food and exactly where it is coming from. We were eating what can grow and be available in Minnesota in May. It tasted like we were connected to our land and the earth. It was a tiny Thursday adventure to look at what we had and get creative. To be aware and intentional, that tasted good.
We are moving toward being defined as consumers before human beings. And there is a reason that the vast majority of people who come back from living abroad (even from a place like Europe) have a major freak out during their first trip to a US grocery store. We have immediate access to any food we want, from anywhere, and there may be eighteen options to choose from. We either go numb and consume mindlessly, or we become hyper critical consumers who believe we have control. It tasted good to give a little bit of control back to the earth, and ate what it was capable of providing at this point in the growing season where I was born and raised. It tasted good to not be numb as we ate our parsnips and kale mindfully.