Don’t Be Numbed By Convenience
You would think a vegetable is a vegetable is a vegetable… But that’s not the case.
When I shop for vegetables at a standard grocery store, everything is in antiseptic bins, plastic packaged, marked with a code. Even if piled up artfully (looking at you, Market32), it is still merely a product among hundreds that the store sells.
It’s not loved. You don’t see the effort behind it.
I have been going to Barber’s Farm Market this summer, down on Route 30 in Schoharie.
Not only are the prices actually better than the exact same veg at the grocery store, but everything looks fresher (even the potatoes, still with dirt in their little half-peck baskets).
There are different varieties: regular eggplants come in standard purple or beautifully lavender and white striped, while little round roly-poly Italian eggplants are tumbled next to them.
There are two kinds of garlic: German white and German red (who knew)?
There are bins of greens, and boxes of glistening grape tomatoes, and ears of corn that were standing tall just this morning.
Every vegetable there has been loved into existence, with hard work and good soil and a refusal to go the pesticide route, even if it means more labor.
And when you get home — you cook differently.
Instead of just grabbing the minced garlic in the store that comes from China and has who knows what as an additive, today I spent a meditative half hour gently opening and peeling the garlic bulbs, the cloves plump and fragrant. They get piled in a large jar and covered with olive oil to stay fresh.
They’re beautiful. They’re real. And they clearly stand ready to partner with me on something luscious and adventurous this week.
Oh, we miss so much when we become numbed by convenience!