I love farmers’ markets. When we go on a trip, I try to find out where the local farmers’ market is. In Portland, for instance, the Saturday Farmers’ Market is on the Portland State campus. And it’s amazing. You go early, planning to eat breakfast (and more) while you’re there.
Today was the Wednesday market in town. Not as heady as Saturday’s, but great for people who really cook, and need to stock up on tomatoes again. And impulse-buy fresh corn for a gluttonous lunch of corn, butter, tomatoes, and sweet blackberries & cream for dessert.
It really is the taste of summer, for me. You cook the corn picked probably late yesterday — maybe even early this morning — and pop it in boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes, just long enough to heat it thoroughly. Then slather it w/ sweet butter and eat ear after ear .
I bought the corn from a friend’s cousin, who runs an organic farm w/ his wife. They’re a young couple, and they have great produce. Plus they frequent the Wednesday market. We also have a share in a CSA – a nearby family farm run by another young couple. Emily & Mike sell at the Saturday market, a much larger event: music, food of every imaginable type, dogs and kids and flowers and happy chaos. But you have to get up early to get the best stuff!
I’m passionate about food — not only because I love to eat, but because food is a way to make a genuine difference in the world. Buy local, sure. But also buy from people who care about the earth, who don’t use heavy pesticides or chemical fertilisers. The earth is our first home, and almost every religion asks us to be good stewards. So much American food is artificially cheap: we don’t pay the cost of its transport north from Mexico, or east from California. We don’t pay the price of chemicals leaching in to the ground water. Many of us don’t even worry .
But I do. So I’m grateful for industrious & optimistic families who spend the hot Oklahoma summer nurturing the tomatoes I love, the corn I inhaled for lunch, the basil I use instead of lettuce on summer sandwiches. I’m trying to eat more mindfully — hence the piggies ban — and remember that every action I take (even inaction!) has an impact. Locally grown organic produce is one way to love the earth that houses us. But I have to confess: it also tastes better …