We have been eating well all week. Fresh, local, organic. On Wednesday we headed over to Carver Farms, or simply “Carver’s” as we commonly refer to the area’s longtime U-pick local farm.
We were upholding a longstanding tradition of u-picking corn and beans, berries and other veggies all summer long and into the late autumn. The weather of late has been tempestuous, and this day was no exception, bringing us sun and rain by turns. The clouds were dramatic. Yes, we saw another rainbow in the sky, but the real rainbow came in the form of all the colorfully diverse produce we gleaned from the fields.
First there was the red.
Lake and I found a few dozen raspberries hanging on the canes and ate them so-fort. I think Lake appreciated the berries most of all. He was having a generally merry visit, cooing as we walked along the fields, but showed particular interest for the red raspberries. Hold on there, Lake! Enjoy the description, colors, fragrance, shapes and feeling for now. Taste will come in time… It’s my duty to introduce him to all the different culinary pleasures and we have begun with the concept of eating with our eyes, not just our mouths.
“Make vegetables a child’s first food”, Pamela Druckerman writes in Bringing up Bébé. In contrast I’m alarmed by the well meaning mothers (and mothers-in-laws) excitedly plotting to introduce ice cream to their infants (or Lake) before they are even a full six months. Think spinach! and your babe as a mini Popeye. Nutrient dense over calorie dense matters from a young age. My job is to introduce nuances of taste and texture to his palate, assiduously!
Ok, little gourmet! Onward we go with our Carver Farms tour: walking and picking and sampling. Then there was the orange. Orange pumpkins and squash and gourds.We got some gourds for seasonal decor because there were so many interesting shapes and spooky varieties. And two big Hubbard squash because, yum… squash soup!
We take a break to wander through the maze of maize. It’s taller than Lake is! The dry stalks and leaves brush against him, providing the full-on sensory experience. We continue with our food immersion tour… They even have a field of popcorn corn here!
Then green tomatoes. Tomatoes as far as the eye could see. The real stars of the show for me were actually the ripe tomatoes. I ate four in the field and then picked several bags at $0.99/lb each. They were just lying sprawled out in the field. Fields and fields of them. It was challenging to walk through without stepping on the vines, much less squash the tomatoes. Heavy, ripe, juicy and delicious. Next time I’m bringing salt with me!
Blue kale. Well, kale that looks blue. Carver’s wasn’t sure what the variety was. They hadn’t advertised it and therefore threw in the bagful I’d picked for free. I’m looking forward to making some hearty kale salads and tossing it into my squash soup. Kale is a superfood! And so handsome, too!
And last but not least we had the aubergine: purple eggplant. So pretty! The Carvers said the eggplants and peppers didn’t grow very big this year, so extra accolades to my friend Katie for getting her eggplants to grow at all in Bellingham (USDA Zone 8a vs 6b)! Well, I ould use some help here: I love eggplant dishes. I’m often ordering eggplant entrees when we are out at Thai or other restaurants. However, neither Nana nor I feel very confident with our egplant culinary skills… So if you have a good recipe or secret for cooking, please share!
Lake had his eyes wide open the whole time, taking it all in… He’s psyched about all this rainbow of produce. He’s the ultimate locovore, keeping it very local!