Sunday marked the last day of one of our local farmer’s market. Having discovered this gem far too late in the season, I had to say goodbye to friendly vendors who still treated me like a regular customer and to the tarts sold by the nun. (Please tell me the irony is not lost on you.)
Traveling is often defined by distance and implies some type of overnight stay, delayed flights, and exotic locales. But traveling can be local, especially when it brings us to a place of new flavors and people and carrots the size of coffee table legs. Besides, I would argue that heirloom peppers count as exotic…
…so does the French nun bearing baked goods from the abbey in Chicago.
Eating and shopping local has become something of a “craze,” with many of us choosing to support independent farmers and rebel against the practice of our daily bread seeing more miles than Rick Steves. (Although it was part of my everyday life as a kid to plant vegetables with my grandmother and for my parents to buy “half a cow” from a local farmer…) Over the years we have become a society in which our food usually does the traveling, covering thousands of miles before it comes to rest on our plates.
I prefer it ripped straight out of the ground and sliced with a big honking knife.
Read your labels. Today we ate tasteless strawberries from the grocery store but hailing originally from Monrovia, California. Tasteless because they are naturally out of season and have probably been genetically modified to stay fresh during the trip from CA to the Midwest without arriving jet-lagged and in need of a good toothbrushing.
At the farmer’s market, I like that if I arrive late, some of my favorite foods may be gone, like the nitrate-free bacon or the PIES, not the PIES! It makes me appreciate the food journey more.
“Check the label…” said the vendor…
Why? I thought, suddenly envisioning all the words on packaging that consumers haven’t seen since 10th grade chemistry class.
…”because each one can have different combinations of fruit.”
Ah, I get it now. Day’s End. Whatever fruit is leftover ends up in this concoction. It’s the last jar and feels something like a treasure in the hands of my daughter who had picked it because she liked the name.
We drive home with our favorite items–kettle corn and honeycomb and still-dirty mushrooms–like souvenirs from a trip we won’t take again until spring, the beginning of the End of the Day.
Photos by Meg