Knowing Your Vegetables
This will be the last week I’ll go to the farm to pick up my box of vegetable jewels, like these irresistable greens. The CSA will bustle on without me, providing the best vegetables I’ve ever tasted, orange-yolked eggs, and fragrant just-picked fruit to the other members lucky enough to have subscribed to the farm last Fall. I, however, will be off in France eating Unknown Vegetables.
True, there will be two markets a week in my new town, and eventually I’ll figure out who sells the most inviting fruits and vegetables, and with luck I’ll learn to call both the farmers and their wares by name. With perseverance I might learn something of their stories, how and where they live and grow, why a given farmer’s arugula is so much greener than another’s. With observation I’ll come to understand the heat that withered the spinach, the untimely rains that split the tomatoes, the myriad ways that the soil and the weather work together throughout the growing season.
But will I ever hear about the peahen that escaped the coop and dug up the seed, or the apprentice farmer who didn’t like to get his hands dirty? Will a farmer admit to me that she’s eaten chard twice a day for three weeks because the crop was so much more plentiful than expected? I have to admit that food always tastes better to me when I know its story, and for five years now I’ve been listening to the stories of Persephone Farm.
I know I’ll find ravishing French vegetables, and I’m really looking forward to them. I’ll listen hard for their stories and savor them gratefully. But for now, my heart still belongs to the vegetables I know, the vegetables grown just for me, the vegetables that keep my coat shiny and my nose moist, those vegetables grown by Rebecca at Persephone Farm.