Not a common sight in this part of the world, but last night, here at the farm, I watched one of our gardeners happily carrying out her harvest which was artfully balanced on her head. She is African ofcourse. I found myself musing, "I know about people but I wonder where all of our vegetables have originated from?"
It is actually quite an intriguing question that, if pursued, tells us much about our ecclectic civilization and our movements as a people over the centries. Tomatoes, for example, the star of Italian cuisine, were found in the America's by the Spanish. The infamous Irish potato actually got it's start as a cultivated crop in the Andes and was also brought over to Europe. The cultivated carrot as we know it, curiously enough, was developed in both Afganistan and Iran and its' popularity expanded with the Persian Empire and then came over to North America with the early European settlers.
Equally interesting, is to learn about the different traditions that people have created around their favorite vegetables that have become the mainstay of their daily diets. It is the memories of these meals that connect them back to their homeland, to the family of their childhood. As a farmer, it is not uncommon to be asked in earnest if I have or do I grow.... ? And I will nod and no matter from where in the world they come from they all react the same way. There is this subtle expression of bliss in their face and a glisten in their eyes and more often then not they are compelled to recount the story:
"You know, when I was a child back in my country, it was at this time of year when we would always go out and into the 'garden/orchard/field' and harvest the ... and Ohhhhh the smell and the taste! Sooo beautiful!"
It is special to know, that not only are we providing vegetables that nourish the body, but that we are also nourishing a cherished memory and it is a priviledge to be included as a part of that.
Do you have a favorite tradition around a dish or a vegetable? We would love to hear it! A montage of stories would be a very special celebration of our CSA for our Thanskgiving share :-)
In the meantime, no matter where you come from or what your story is, you are here today and an important part of our season. Thank you for being so. Together, we are we are creating some new memories for each of us to share with one another around our collective community table that has been so blessed.