Thursday, July 12, 2007

Keeping It Real, Keeping It Local

Our first Cocozelle zucchini and Sungold cherry tomatoes, early July 2007.


Waldo Jaquith - over at - wrote a piece earlier this week about the local food movement in our area - The Politics of Eating Locally. And he gave a shout out to Life in Sugar Hollow!

There is something about the rhythm of eating with the seasons. Eating what is fresh at the moment. There are actually vegetables and fruits that have experienced a renaissance of sorts in my kitchen - because the taste when they are in-season is markedly different from year-round supermarket produce. Sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, melons and blackberries. Off the vine - without much preparation or fanfare. Perfection.

I also recognize that eating locally takes work and, for me, took many, many seasons of farmers market visits to understand what grew when. Small steps, dear readers.

There were two vendors at the Charlottesville Market that I watched particularly closely - Waterpenny Farm and Radical Roots. Both are organic farms that also offer some heirloom variety produce. In just focusing on those vendors - I had an easier time remembering what crops showed up when. And, several years down the road, this research helped me take the leap to growing our own food out in Sugar Hollow.

If you are up for exploring things on a simple scale - just try fresh eggs from a nearby farm. Test out one new locally-grown tomato variety this summer. Or a pepper. Or maybe even a tomatillo. Or those tiny, purple and white Asian eggplants. Next spring, think about throwing a few sugar snap pea seeds in the ground. Consider making a visit to a farm that raises grass-fed, free-range livestock.

Small steps. Small steps. Visit the Buy Fresh Buy Local website for a comprehensive guide to Charlottesville-area farms, restaurants and markets.


Lonnie said...

Those little round Thai Eggplants are on my short list of plants I wish I could grow. The Downtown Thai restaurant serves them in some of their curries, and I fell in love with them instantly. the texture is so much better than the traditional italian ones.

I do have some seed now for them, but my soil apparently isn't so good for vegetables. I need to get it tested to figure our what I'm doing wrong.

That Girl . . . said...

Hey Tracey, I just read about your blog in a little blurb in the Cville Abode -- I love it! I hope all is well and maybe we can catch up over lunch sometime! -- Christian

Tracey said...

Lonnie - You can definitely grow the little eggplants in containers. I did it last year and they were VERY productive plants.
Christian - So cool to see you visiting here! YES! Lunch!

Steph said...

Yay - local food!