My son Tim came home today. We had a wonderful time chatting, catching up on news, having a bit of lunch.
Then we headed off to our local Farmer’s Market, just to grab a few goodies.
Wow. We drove up the hill, into the small town center. We parked along the town green, parking on the grass across the small road from the old white houses and rambling farms. It was raining hard, for the first time in several weeks. Tim held an umbrella over our heads, but the rain streamed down over us nonetheless. We were chilly and wet by the time we got to the first vendor’s tent.
As we stood shivering under our small umbrella, I gazed at the incredible array of fresh, organic, locally grown foods. There were baskets filled with beets, kale, onions, garlic, red and gold potatoes, lettuce, beans, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, turnips, parsnips and fennel. Tim and I chose a few items to take home, chatting and laughing with the young man behind the counter. No need for garlic or tomatoes, or carrots: I grew those at home! No need for beets or onions, I just bought those at the farm stand in town.
We chose some eggs, some lettuce and small, crisp cukes. Some broccoli and a few sweet red peppers.
As we walked around the rest of the market, we bought some fresh, colorful eggs, a loaf of crisp fresh bread and a local package of goat cheese.
We stopped at the freezer truck where our friend and local farmer was selling fresh sweet corn and all kinds of local organic meats. We bought a dozen ears of corn and two pounds of freshly ground beef.
As we headed back to the car with our treasures, I kept telling Tim that I was feeling overwhelmed by the bounty all around us. We had enough money to buy as much fresh, safe, healthy food as we could use. We had a choice of fresh foods that was almost an embarrassment of riches. I wished that I could buy and save enough of this wonderful food to see us all the way through the winter.
And two things struck me then: One is that I absolutely CAN buy and preserve enough fresh food to last until next spring. I only have to put in the effort to cook and can or freeze it all. The second thought was more profound: how is it that I find myself surrounded by more food than any of us could ever consume, when the world is filled with so many hungry families? I thought of people far away, suffering in Syria and Iraq and Gaza and Ukraine. And I thought of people in my own community, young families with hungry children, who are unable to access the incredible bounty of the summer in New England.
I don’t know how I can share all this wealth. I don’t know how I can manage to feed those hungry children. But I do know that I am committed to buying, saving, cooking, eating and sharing as much of this fresh, nutritious food as I possibly can. And I will do whatever it is that I can do to bring these wonderful treasures to hungry people wherever they may be.
In praise of local farmers, who work so hard to bring us the beautiful gifts of summer!