I’ve been traveling, so I haven’t yet had a chance to taste the first fruits from the farm. The morning air is warm and sweet. I meet head grower Dan Holmes bumping along in the truck as I am walking down the path to the farm.
“Are you here for berries?” he asks. “There are bunches!”
I get to the “Sweet Field” and spend time filling a couple of containers. The strawberry plants lie low to the ground adorned with sparkling, juicy fruit. You have to forage around a bit, but underneath, there are plenty of firm, fat, lip-stick red berries. Soon, my fingers are stained a flattering shade of deep pink.
The beauty of fresh-picked berries is that they are already close to perfection and require so little manipulation. Nature and the farmer have done the work already to assure sweetness and flavor.
And, the blackberry bushes are covered in delicate lavender blossoms, a sign of the berries still ahead this summer.
It is also the first distribution of the season, and the start of my third season as a member of a CSA. People wonder if supporting local food is practical, economical or if the produce tastes any different. Yes, to all of the above. The produce from Restoration Farm will provide most of my food well into the autumn.
It has been a very long winter and it is a delicious homecoming. The “salad days” have returned at Restoration Farm, and I am just a bit cockeyed with glee. Head Grower Caroline Fanning is smiling. While I’ve noted that the farmers are reluctant to predict too far ahead, she thinks it is the start of a “good season.” The tender leaves are everywhere. Dan and Caroline and the volunteers have harvested red lettuce, green lettuce, spinach, arugula and mizuna.
I celebrate the start of Restoration Farm’s new season with the freshest of meals from the field – light, sweet, crisp and brilliant in color – a salad of many greens, Capatano Dairy Farmstead Gouda goat cheese, strawberries drizzled with balsamic syrup, and a bright glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The strawberries are tart and juicy, and the greens peppery and herbaceous. It’s pretty heavenly. (As I planned this first meal from the farm, look what my friend Julia at the blog “Grow, Cook, Eat” was putting together!)
As Barbara at the blog “Chez Aurora” has put it so well, “Green thumbs up!”
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