Oh, how I love this time of year. I can drive down the street and pick up super fresh produce that my friends nurtured and grew, knowing they put so much love and care into it each step of the way. I can step into my yard and pick herbs and greens to add to dishes. My homegrown purple basil, pluto basil, and mint in my morning yogurt with honey from Essex and native strawberries. I mean really, what a treat! Winters in New England can be quite hard on those of us who try to stick to local produce, which can sometimes be a losing game in the dead of winter. I have been so lucky to live in two cities that provide winter farmer’s markets, which do offer a lovely variety considering the harsh conditions, but MAN when we finally transition to light, fresh greens, oh it is just something else. Salad and I become just great pals, and I am so excited to eat tender greens again. Greens that were just harvested, just lovingly plucked from their homes by people who are part of a growing community on the North Shore to feed each other real food.
My friends Allison and Bart at Canaan Farm are doing such a lovely job feeding that community. Their greenhouses have been open for a few weeks, which I recently checked out while picking up some happy seedlings. So so cool to see people just going for it — switching up their lives to pursue an exciting, scary, difficult yet fulfilling passion. Because that passion, and that care for community, is really what it all comes down to.
Today I picked up some incredible arugula from Canaan – just the right bite to it – and some red leaf lettuce they had from a neighboring farm. Made a salad for my visiting parents and brother: thinly sliced radishes (also Canaan, both purple and red); salad or haruki turnips from Alprilla Farm in Essex; nasturtiums, basil, and tatsoi from my garden; and Valley View Farm chèvre from Topsfield, also sold at Canaan. A simple vinaigrette with champagne vinegar, olive oil, shallots, and salt and pepper. What a wonderful blessing to have all these resources in my backyard, something I just cannot not take for granted.
What’s your favorite salad to celebrate the bounty of summer?