Eating fresh locally grown and produced food is refreshing to the taste buds as well as to the feelings of community. The two are wholly intertwined.
These pictures are of today's lunch. The salad was made with mesclun greens, walnuts, and chive flowers from farmers at our local farmers market. We dressed it up with some homemade lemon balm vinegar, and the only thing not locally produced, olive oil. The quiche crust is made with butter from Wisconsin, and flour milled in Effingham. The filling is asparagus, onions, and chard again from the local farmers market, along with milk from Illinois and eggs laid by happy chickens at Bear Creek Farm & Ranch. We also had some Ropp Jersey cheese (their blue ribbon winning recipe green onion cheddar) on the side, with plain old yummy sweet local strawberries from Live Springs for dessert--so delicious that no sugar is needed. Most all this food was bought face to face, sharing good conversations with the people who harvested it. It feels good to know and financially support your farmer.
We shared this lunch with a friend, one who has been very nice and thoughtful, and it was nice to be able to share this kindness back to someone whose friendship we value. Food and community, there's just no separating the two.
And here's a goofy picture of me and Kaleigh chopping strawberries (the picture of us diligently working was too boring). We made six gallons of strawberry wine, so far. See that fan behind me? We needed it! I am still in the process of making rhubarb wine (and doing dishes). Tomorrow is hopefully the day we make low sugar strawberry jam for Kaleigh and leftover wine pulp "butter" for Don & me. The scraps are going to our worms, who will probably really enjoy the sweet ooshy rotting goodness in a few days. And we harvest the worm poop and turn it into food! No part of the strawberry is wasted. Kaleigh's had many strawberries at this point. Can you tell? I would think I've had too much coffee, but actually, we got up early so we could get strawberries at market.
Last here is the most beautiful edible pea I've ever laid eyes on. It's called the blue-podded pea, and I ordered the seeds from Baker Creek. The blossoms are these beautiful pinks and purples. The pods are a dark indigo blue. They're good dried for soups, and also the pods are edible. We ate the pods in some breakfast eggs the other day. They are by far the healthiest peas I've ever grown. I stuck some regular dollar store seed packet peas in the ground, and they are quite smaller plants and not yet producing pods.
My friend Kaya is visiting Friday, and I am really going to enjoy that day! Saturday we are tabling at the Earth Awareness Fair, handing out copies of our basic comprehensive gardening zine and hopefully parting with the rest of the bulk seeds I've been carting around with me for over a year now.