Monday, September 22, 2008

Bounty and Tragedy

Yesterday I had the luxury of hitting up some of my favorite local food suppliers, including Codman Community Farm and Drumlin Farm and the independent grocery store Donelan's, all in Lincoln.

Since moving out of the city we've had to recondition ourselves to not need a weekly Whole Foods stock up, even if it means going to three different places. That means we sometimes don't have the little things we're used to, like Guss' pickles or cheap oil courtesy of Big Organic, but it also means we eat even more locally grown and minimally processed foods. Often our diet doesn't extend beyond creative combinations of eggs, meat, bread, cheese, fruits and vegetables. You know, what people used to eat. What was I buying at Whole Foods anyway?

It's also fun to return to shopping at a "normal" grocery store like Donelan's. Whole Foods is in part a force for good, but if you shop there all the time, you can't help but feel like a weenie.

I stopped at Codman for their incredible eggs, got bread and cheese and such at Donelan's, but it was Drumlin that shone the brightest on this excursion. They had a dazzling array of sustainably grown heirloom fruits and veggies ranging from New England classics to Caribbean specialties. As you can see from the photo above, I picked up collards, a leek, fennel, potatoes, tomatillos, poblanos, a melon, and the star of the bunch, ground cherries. These things are so good, so fresh and full of flavor, I eat them like candy, popping them out of their adorable little husks and straight into my mouth. It's addictive, but unlike candy, the more I eat, the better I feel.

I also picked up a ten dollar box of heirloom tomato seconds, which is pretty much what I expect to be handed upon entering heaven. Here's what was left after I sauced half for pizza.

I had fully intended to visit Verril Farm too, but was shocked and saddened to learn that their stand had burnt down in what started as an electrical fire on Saturday afternoon. Visit their blog here for updates and to follow the link to the youtube video of the fire fighters dousing the blaze.

I know I speak for the community when I say what a loss it is and that I only hope they're able to rebuild. I drove past it this morning to pay my respects, and the contrast of the luscious fields of crops that have been owned by the family for 90 years and the charred shell of the stand could not have been more stark. It tears me up to think of all of their carefully grown and prepared foods going up in smoke. I think it goes without saying that in today's economy, small scale farmers have enough challenges without their property spontaneously bursting into flames. Good luck, Verrill.

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