Seasonal Notes


I love my job: I am proud to be an entrepreneurial cheese monger.  

I love the food business:  I am proud to be a part of the re-localization of American regional food systems.

I love that each week I find myself in a farmer’s market:  I love the opportunity to stroll about, to talk with friends and acquaintances, to build community – and to observe the bounty of our own local food system.  These are my seasonal notes:
Asparagus came, as expected, earlier in the spring: one of my favorite early seasonal greens.  Fresh-picked asparagus has happily persisted and was readily available at today’s market. Its availability has shockingly overlapped the debut appearance of today’s nectarines.  (Yes, nectarines in early June.)  My dear friend and co-executive director of FRESHFARM Markets observed this “first time in memory” occurrence as we chatted.  It made me mused about the culinary possibilities of this new partnership: asparagus nectarine pie?

And, this season’s market has brought a good cast of new characters to our attention as well. Tat Soy. Black and purple radish.  Kohlrabi.  Barese Chard. Persian Cucumbers to name a few.  We welcomed these multi-cultural additions to our local foodshed.

The brussel sprouts had come and gone by early May.  I miss them. 

My favorite cold storage apples: the Japanese varietal Mutsu, were gone by the start of June.  I remembered (as a 50 year old man) that such fruits and some vegetables could be over-wintered in cold storage (our grandparent’s root-cellars).  I was amazed how fresh these apples seemed as we enjoyed their crispness in April and May.

Cherries made their first – and rather early – appearance by mid-May.  At today’s market, cherries of all varietals were in abundance.  Strawberries followed the cherries by a week.  Blueberries made their debut appearance today, in early June.

Peas shoots have come and gone. Sadly.

Red beets came in early May.  Golden beets followed by a week or two.  Both are still in our market basket weekly – beets combine so wonderfully with goat cheese.

The ramps have come and gone.  What a wonderful come-back story behind this lovely little West Virginia weed!

Fava beans – received with great enthusiasm – showed up two weeks ago.  Today was their likely final appearance.  We have a big bag, and while they require a good amount of prep we look forward to cooking, sautéing and enjoying their seasonal exit.

Cauliflower – even purple cauliflower – along with broccoli made their seasonal debut last week.
I know that many (all) of the things that have retired from this season’s market can still be bought at supermarkets.  I wonder from where they come and at what cost.
This weekend in DC, and on adjacent June weekends in many other US cities, GLBT Americans are celebrating “Pride Day.”  These celebrations mark another rite of the season.

Many years ago, I attended one or two gay pride marches myself.  Now, these events have no attraction for Pablo and I.  I remember attending these events and wondering: "Why gay pride?"  Why then not straight pride?  Caucasian pride?  Being same-sex oriented is merely one of the aspects of an identity, the onion-like layers that surround each of us.  My seasonal notes:

The first gay pride parade was held in New York City on Sunday, June 28, 1970. One year earlier, in the early morning hours of Saturday, 28 June 1969, the bar-goers the Stonewall Inn – one of the nation’s first openly gay bars – rioted following a police raid.  The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar which catered to generally to the gay community, but which was popular with the most marginalized people in the gay community: transvestites, transgender people, effeminate young men, hustlers, and homeless youth.

The Stonewall riots are generally considered to be the beginning of the modern gay rights movement, as it was the first time in modern history that a significant body of GLBT people fought-back, resisted arrest, and stood up for their civil rights.  The first Gay Pride Marches were organized in America’s largest cities by members of the Mattachine Society and the Gay Liberation Front, early and historic gay rights associations who fought for the rights to we take for granted today.

I love my job: I am proud to be a gay, entrepreneurial, cheese monger.  


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