Monday, July 8, 2013

Chesterhill Produce Auction

My memories of summer touch upon long hot afternoons of reading. Sometimes it was as if the heat turned imagination and story into an alternate reality, but by then I would awaken from a sweaty nap.

My grown up fantasy of summer has been a long awaited garden which looks impressive thanks to abundant rain fall. The problem is that it is a small space and being a novice gardener, I've not taken advantage of every inch of it, but I'm learning.

My garden is planted with Japanese herbs and vegetable seeds, things I could not easily find. Having limited garden produce and no fruit bearing trees, I still have the usual shopping trips to the grocery store and the farmers market. I am also teaching myself how to make jams and pickles courtesy of numerous library books, my favorite inspirers. 

Today, in search of larger batches and better prices, I went to Chesterhill Produce Auction. The produce looked beautiful. I quickly obtained a number and flashed it for a batch of asparagus, my new favorite pickle. Next, I went for raspberries, then blueberries, and finally three sacks of potatoes, my usual concoction of nonsensical items that interest me but don't exactly come together to make a meal or recipe.

There are four jars of homemade jam-- cherry,  strawberry rubarb, shiro plum, and plum-- in my fridge, but none with raspberries or blueberries. To make jam, I need motivation, read volume, to can it. Just as I'm a newbie gardener, so I'm a newbie canner. Thus far I'm trying recipes out for taste and ease and learning what is in season in hopes of building a canning repertoire. 

I plan to go back to the produce auction as I learn what I can "put up" and what tastes good. It was cool-- from the auctioneer to the Amish farmers to the beautiful  produce-- and motivating. Learning about local food sources is only part of eating locally. Learning how to use local food, keep it, and enjoy it beckons.