Ok, so I found out that the little local cabbage sign at EEFC that sat there all winter, making me wonder where the giant local fields of organic cabbage were was left by mistake. There was no actual local produce at EEFC (there were potatos, onions, hard squash and cabbage at farmer’s market in East Liberty all winter) over winter.
The first thing to come in were Ramps, which I purchased and used in abundance, and next year will see if I can go forage somewhere. It took 30 seconds of searching online to figure out that it’s one of those things that grows wild very prolifically and easily, and the second you try and put the plant where you want it, in any form, it offers a critique of the situation in the form of suicide.
The next thing to crop up (HA!) was some local spinach. I purchased two bunches, on two seperate occasions. One made it into a casserole (with a local spaghetti squash, the only way I’ll eat that squash). One languished, intended for salads, then intended for stir fry, then intended for soup, but ultimately just composted. My eyes are often bigger than my stomach, even in bulk.
Then a bit of a dry spell, with only hydroponic lettuce and salad greens in plastic boxes. Hydroponics… I’ll apologize to any fans out there, but hydroponics is the epitome of foolish human hubris. Some plants, like orchids, do best with their roots not sitting in soil but absorbing moisture from the air. Lettuce and tomatoes do not naturally exist like this. Water cress, lilly pads, seaweed, sure, sort of. Plants grow in dirt because that’s what suits them, not because they’ve been waiting for a few million years for us to come along with modern chemistry and provide anything better. Can’t grow something with soil? Maybe try to grow a more appropriate plant for your climate/soil. Or try improving the soil with some compost. But it’s local. So that’s enough rant. I do wish them the best of luck, and hope that people at least choose local hydroponics over import hydroponics.
The salad greens… if they were in bulk, I’d be all over that. Can’t do the plastic, just can’t. So when local organic “Butter Crunch” lettuce heads showed up this week, I bought two heads. I don’t even particularly like that kind of lettuce (though I think I planted some). But it’s local, cheap, organic, and I’ve been jonesing for salads. I also found some local organic black asparagus – I won’t even tell you how much it was. Ridiculously expensive. And ridiculously fresh and tasty. It’s not an every week thing. I’m amazed it’s out this late. And I hope they grow more and flourish in business. They can’t succeed if people don’t support them, so I bought some.
There’s no local fruit that I’ve found, so I settled for “USA” labeled stuff. I find that label incredibly unsatisfying (I’d rather buy from this side of the Mason Dixon than the other, I’d rather buy from this side of the Mississippi than the other, I’d rather buy FL citrus than CA, etc, but how can I tell?).
But this all tells me a few things – I waited too long to plant stuff (no surprise there). And there will be even more very very soon. I think I’ll bring back the “junk salad” dinner habit that I’ve been ridiculed for (it’s a giant plate of whatever raw veggies are in the fridge over whatever lettuce, I don’t even bother with dressing or a fork, it’s too much fun to eat with fingers from the plate). And fingers crossed, I’ll have some plants soon producing something to eat. Thursday night will be Garden Like Mad night, tonight i’ve got the Penn Hills Community Development Corporation meeting, 6:30 at the library (if you’re around, stop by!). I’m hoping those guys will have some ideas for keeping it local and real in my ‘hood.
Also tomorrow I (theoretically) get my bike back. I completely feel like the woman who’s gone in for plastic surgery and is about to have the bandages removed… Well, I feel like how I’d imagine that to feel. All scared and excited and anxious and wondering if all the money and pain will result in my hopes realized. As I called them yesterday I caught myself cringing while they looked up the ticket number, as though I was trying to facially hide from some doomsday news. It’s a bike, I know, but it’s also my dream of no more driving. Assuming my bike has no mortal wounds or fatal wasting diseases, I’m going to try to ride along with the Friday Night Light Ride posted on Bike PGH’s events calander. Most of the other beginner stuff that’s soon enough for me to get giggly over is all off road stuff (PORC and DORC exist – who knew?), and I find I have less fear of cars (they’re capable of at least attempting to avoid me) than trees (they can’t move out of my way or call 911 afterwards). I know, irrational – but it’s a fear, which is inherantly unreasonable.
Back to the important stuff… Anybody find any local fruit out there recently?