A Knowledge of Vegetables
I stopped by the Corvallis Food Co-op the other morning to pick up my essentials: milk, cheese, Que Pasa chips and an impulse chocolate bar. The impulse buying has been off the charts the past several weeks, and the empty shelves of the pasta and canned food isles had been swept clear save for a few soups that wouldn’t even sound appetizing in a global pandemic.
To be honest I was spooked for a few minutes, caught up thinking that the food I generally keep around the house was somehow insufficient. Relief came to me in the form of empty shelves of frozen squash and other mixed vegetables. Not a bag was left in the entire frozen aisle.
But across the store in the produce section there was not only no sign of shortage of squash, broccoli, cabbage, or any other vegetable. Rather, freshly delivered boxes of food were being put out on shelves by the conscientiously-gloved produce manager.
It struck me that not only was there no real food shortage, but that even when the time to cook becomes abundant and eating at home becomes a requirement many people still don’t pick up fresh food and work with it in their kitchen.
Although food security at our local grocery stores is stable right now, labor uncertainties in the fresh market (i.e. vegetable) crops might alter the availability of certain foods later this summer. For that reason, and a cornucopia of other benefits local food purchasing offers, this is a really great year to start exploring new foods and fresh produce.
The limitations to travel and recreation that will keep people at home for the next several months may caution you against farmers markets, but that doesn't mean you have to give up the fresh vegetable dream. Already it seems that the neighborhoods I’ve driven through are buzzing with people mowing lawns, trimming trees, and reviving gardens that may not have demanded priority before. My friends at several seed companies have been swamped with orders, as a wave of would-be gardeners is growing like never before. A New York Times article from late March even declared “Food Supply Anxiety Brings Back Victory Gardens.” If you haven't thought about growing food at home before, now is the perfect time.
And if it all works out and you find yourself with new foods in your fridge and garden full of green stuff that you need to cook with, here’s a short list of cookbooks that we love to reference:
- The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Deborah Madison) *
- Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables (Josh McFadden)
- Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (Samin Nosrat)
- Moosewood Cookbook (Mollie Katzen)*
- Wild Fermentation (Sandor Katz) *
* Vegetarian cookbooks
I hope everyone gets a chance to grow within themselves and in their gardens over the next few months. If you need some seed to get started with, please reach out to us!
We’re currently working on additional ways to get plants into the hands of gardeners, so if you’re located in either the Eugene, OR or Corvallis, OR area please stay tuned for vegetable and flower starts available early next month!