As we did last year, we bought a share of a local farm through a program called CSA(community supported agriculture.) Spending the money in early spring allows the farmers capital to plant new crops. Then each week we take our bag to the farm stand for our share of the produce. While theoretically we would lose our money if the crops completely failed, this farm has supplied food for years and the risk is very small.
The first week we received fresh asparagus, newly cut from the stalks that morning. I cook asparagus regularly in the late spring, often either steaming or oven roasting it. The vegetables available in the local store usually come from Mexico. I was used to the taste being fairly bland, definitely needing the addition of lemon juice for adding zest.
I was amazed to taste real local asparagus for the first time that I can remember. The taste was pronounced, delicious and needed no seasoning. Clearly whatever allows the stalks to travel from Mexico and arrive with a snap in the store takes a toll on taste. I had no idea of the difference in the flavor possible when it had just been harvested.
I think the summer will be, as was last year’s, a reintroduction to the true flavors of vegetables. Locally grown and picked, they have no need to travel or to keep for a week, depriving them of flavor. Here’s to what lies ahead from our neighbor’s gardens. Eating local is more than a fad, it is a promise of real flavor, often missing at the super market.