Grist for the mill

I can’t believe I am sitting and writing my letter for the 25th issue! For some reason, this is always my last task in preparing each issue. I’ve always attributed it to just pure procrastination but, thinking it over, I don’t think that is the case.

The issue needs to simmer in my mind. Not just the words but also the images. Mixed into the pot is the weather for the week I am working on the layout. If I were writing this 3–4 weeks ago I would be lamenting about the summer weather and how it was impacting our farming community, and celebrating having local crops earlier than usual. Instead, we are back to the appropriate April showers—oddly coming after the May flowers. While the asparagus was early and so were the flowers, will this rain cause havoc in the fields to the plants that were planted and started growing weeks earlier than normal?

As we make finishing touches to this issue I can only say that I am pleased with my dish. I think it has solidified my transition from a magazine about food to a magazine about people and food. Food is the common denominator, of course, but the exploration into who produces our food, who has access to local food and where to find it seems to be as important as whether it tastes good or, for that matter, is good for us.

The summer is beginning; the season for locally grown food is soon upon us. We share with you the experience of foraging for wild stinging nettles, the tastiness of the greens of our beets and the learning curve for moving from a home brewer to a nanobrewer.

In this issue I hope to challenge you, to get you thinking bigger picture. Let’s focus on the cost of local food. For many people, it can be prohibitive. How is this being addressed and changed? Are we able to offer local food to consumers and still pay our farmers a living wage?

Access to local food is another big issue: Does that explain why we now have 150 farmers markets between Boston and Worcester? Will this make a difference? If so, for both the farmers and the consumers?

Maybe the new trend encouraging and enabling people to grow more of their own food is part of the answer. Several articles in this issue talk about the many different models for doing this, whether individually or communally.

There is a lot to think about but let’s also celebrate the soon arrival of the real tomatoes, corn and strawberries—to name just a few!

Ilene Bezahler