It’s here. Our first box of local produce landed on the doorstep this morning, somewhere between the unfathomable hour my wife leaves for work and the far more reasonable time of day that I head out the door.
The first week’s haul consisted of potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, purple carrots, delicata squash, beets, turnips, mushrooms, apples, a few normal size pears, and one behemoth of a pear. I’m starting to worry the behemoth pear might eat me.
Everything in the box was grown within a 203-mile radius of our house. The shiitake mushrooms traveled the farthest, coming from a farm south of Portland, Oregon. The carrots and potatoes, on the other hand, were grown just 20 miles away, on a farm right outside Tacoma.
I’m quickly realizing this experiment may involve trying some veggies I don’t like – or always assumed I don’t like. (Hello turnips, beets, and delicata squash.) So tonight, we start with the beets. Boiled for 30 minutes, sliced, drizzled with homemade pesto (basil, pine nuts, olive oil), and roasted in the oven till crispy. Pretty good, too. My wife’s reaction was more enthusiastic: something about possibly being her new favorite vegetable. (Be proud, Dwight. Be very proud.)
And yes, the beets were incredibly fresh. You could almost taste the farm – which is a lot better than it sounds. Locavores who insist that food tastes more like itself when it’s in season and local — beets taste more beety, carrots taste more carroty — might be onto something. Our beets weren’t dug out of the ground that long ago, they didn’t have far to travel, and the ground that nurtured them wasn’t laced with synthetic chemicals that are, after all, byproducts of WWII-era explosive compounds and chemical weapons. (See Omnivore’s Dilemma, pages 41-47 and 143.)
Not bad for a little beet from Yakima.
Next up: yellow turnips. And come Friday, we pick up our first order of pastured pork and lamb from Lopez Island Farm.