I've been reading (in snatches, the only way I do anything nowadays) Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle about her family's year-long experiment to eat only those foods grown in a single county in West Virginia and only in season. They have their own vegetable garden and chickens and rely on farmers' markets and local farms for the rest. Kingsolver's narrative is interspersed with short essays by her husband on topics such as agri-business or farm politics and pieces by her oldest daughter which include seasonal menu ideas and recipes. It's quite the family affair, this text, and if I were still in school I would have all kinds of things to say about polyphony and narration and dialogism and textual interplay, but, fortunately for you, I am no longer in school so I get to skip all that!
Instead, let me tell you what we have been inspired to do because of reading her book: we are now proud participants in our local CSA (community supported agriculture) farm, Stono Family Market/Ambrose Farms. The farms are located on John's Island and Ambrose farm is the same place we went to pick strawberries recently. They have only recently started offering CSA produce shares, so we got in just in time (they are now closed and there's a waiting list after a thorough news story on the endeavor). We signed up for the summer share, a 6 week trial run (for us and for them) lasting from early June through the middle of July. Signing up for summer share makes us eligible for the fall and spring shares this and next year, so if we like what we see, we can be members virtually year round.
Thus, our first pick-up is June 3rd. And I'm very excited! And a little concerned about what to do with some of the new fresh ingredients I will soon have in my pantry. I checked the website and this week's shares included lettuces, sweet onions, strawberries (though I know those are gone at the end of May), yellow squash, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, new potatoes, cucumbers, dill, and patty pan squash. With the exception of the kohlrabi and the patty pan squash, I've cooked with all these before, so that's good. But now I need some good kohlrabi and patty pan squash recipes (or receipts, as the members' handbook call them, in true Charleston style). Any suggestions?
Expect weekly updates on our culinary adventures for most of the summer (and hopefully into the fall if this all works out). I can't wait to see what we come up with. At the very least, we'll be eating healthier meals, more home-cooked fare, and trying new foods throughout the next 5 weeks or so. In the process, we'll be supporting local farming, getting tastier and fresher produce, and putting our money where our politics are. Yay!