LETTER FROM THE EDITOR, SUMMER 2015
I think this is the first time in 8 years that I have written my letter when the weather has reflected the season I am writing about. Already we have had hot, dry days and the plants are flourishing. For those who have been around farms, we know that this cannot be a prediction for the entire season ahead but we can be optimistic that the tomatoes will ripen before mid-August!
As summer approaches I’ve been thinking back to some of my favorite memories around summertime foods. I think that most occurred on beach vacations with my parents and sisters. Not surprisingly, we “foraged” for our food. Not in the traditional sense, but in our own “Bezahler” way. We would go to the dairy to charm the farmer (a true Yankee curmudgeon) into selling us some of his limited and delicious heavy cream. How else does one eat summer strawberries?
These vacations were before there were good croissants in the United States and before they became our morning staple. Usually my father and I were the first ones up, so we would head out to the bakery for fresh Danish or other breakfast type pastries. On these excursions, we became friends with the fishmonger down at the dock and always bought what was caught off the boat that day. One time, my father and I ventured out to dig for our clams. After an hour or so we had only one clam to show for our efforts. Walking out of the water, onto the beach, we were stopped by the local ranger and were forced to throw the clam back as we didn’t have a license! That was when we realized it was time to leave the fishing to the professionals.
These were fun times and created memories that have stayed with me for a long time. Reflecting back, I realize how lucky I’ve been that I’ve never had to worry about where my next meal will come from. Food has been abundant and easily accessible. Unfortunately this is not true for all people.
The subject of food insecurity has been on my mind quite a bit lately. I won’t profess to have the answers, but I do know that if we each do something small, cumulatively we can make a huge difference.
Many of the stories in this issue touch on this topic directly or indirectly. Organizations like Fresh Truck, Fresh Food Generation and the Somerville Mobile Markets are bringing fresh foods into areas that are considered food deserts. They are on a mission and it is helping. Other individuals are focusing on how to get food distributed from farms to people's plates. While most of us have not thought about it, as you will read, it’s not especially easy when you are talking about a small volume of product, so it can be tough for food artisans to get ther products to markets. Raising chickens or growing one’s own food, even in urban settings, is on the rise and is another way to help individuals have more control over access to good food.
This summer, I’ve come up with a plan as to how I might be able to make a small difference. Every week I go to at least one farmers market and come home with much more food than I need. Why? Everything looks so good that I can’t control myself and more importantly I want to support all the farmers and producers. Unfortunately at the end of the week, I realize that there is still leftover food that won’t be eaten.
This year every time I go to a farmers market I am going to allocate part of my market spending money for food that I can bring to my local food pantry. As we all know, $10 or $20 of fresh vegetables will help make a difference. I hope it will be a win for everyone. I'll be wasting less food, the farmers will still get my money, and the food pantries can fill a desperate need for fresh, healthy produce.
I ask you to join me this season in taking a small step to help bring about change, whether by donating food you've grown or buying extra from the farmers market. Together we can make it a mile.