Friday, August 26, 2011

Spending Real Money for the Real Thing

...And Thoughts On Watermelon Soup!

Why is it that when I shop at big supermarkets I buy more than I mean to, and spend more than I have? I try to get through the line almost sheepishly, knowing I'm just one more person the cashier has to deal with before he/she goes on break. Then I come home with stuff and packaging, with what may or may not even be food, feeling my life is just more cluttered instead of more full.

When I go to the farm stand, it's different. I buy less (but it seems to last the week), I pay a fair sum (but nothing to match the impulse purchases I make at the the big stores), and I feel my life is somehow better ordered.

I think it is because our buying speaks to a deeper human need than simply getting. It is about exchange. When I do business, I want to have a conversation with somebody about what I am about to buy, or what I bought last week (and hopefully used to create a really cool dish). I want to feel that they are glad I'm giving them my money, and that it is real money I'm giving them-- (not just zipping a card for some unspoken amount). I want it to matter that I was there, because they want to keep doing what they do.

So, since it is Friday, I went to my favorite farm store down the street Z Food Farm run by Dave Zaback (on Lawrenceville Pike just before the 95 on-ramp). I had a long talk with chef-farmer Greg (a darling young man with bad-boy scruffy hair) about which vegetables go best with gin and vodka. I'm afraid I kept him too long, as he had to ring my stuff up twice. I just love going there! Their farm store is even better than the farmers market because they are not so deluged with customers and they have the time to tell you about everything they have to offer (and what's especially good!) Plus, you get to talk RECIPES!!!! To top it off, David Z gives me all his extra produce, which I take to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen! Z Food Farm is open Wednesday, Friday and now Saturday.

So, this week I've been into their watermelon. (I used it in one of my Ezekiel's Table classes, made it three times myself, and I still can't wait to eat more!) This is how it's done:

Watermelon Soup with Summer Herbs

I use a food mill set on the coarsest setting. It results in a deeper, richer
color and a pleasing, uniform texture. (The coarse setting leaves a nice little something to chew on, and it takes out most of the seeds.) If you're in a hurry, the blender or food processor is fine, but you will get a more foamy, pastel soup instead of that beautiful jewel red nectar.

1 large handful of basil, and/or other herbs such as lemon thyme, or rose-scented geranium
6 cups watermelon chunks
1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 pinch salt

Throwing the herbs in first, run the watermelon through the mill. Add the remaining ingredients. Give it a stir and you're good to go. Really, this stuff is like candy (if the watermelon is as good as the Z Farm ones!)

Enjoy the rest of Summer!!!!

And if you haven't already heard, I'm off to Italy next week and Ireland the week after that. I'll be back with recipes and stories. When I return, you can start to schedule your parties for Fall and Winter!

--Marcia W.
Ezekiel's Table

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