I am not a travel writer, or a food writer. Despite a few attempts at academic writing, that hasn’t really done it for me either. I’m a navel-gazer. And what I see when I gaze into my navel these days (which rests atop a very satisfied belly) is the hub of a unique web. Relationship-wise, place-wise, time-wise…and food-wise.
Relationships and place-timing will have to be explored at a later date: there’s just too much to remark upon in those departments, and my thoughts will probably fill a book. But food–that’s worth a quick mention here.
It’s as much a sign of the times (as fresh food becomes ever-more-popular) as a compliment to us and our garden-building business that so many of the folks with whom we have visited have fed us locally, seasonally, and from scratch. Excellent food from their gardens, CSA shares, farmers markets, and even (via company cafeteria) preserved farmland around their new corporate campuses.
A couple of recent examples of this web in action: we were offered (and gratefully accepted) fresh CSA onions and peppers to spice up a late road-trip-food dinner in Eagan, MN. We fixed up eggplants grown by Stefan Meyer, an urban farmer friend in Minneapolis in Madison, then made pesto from local farmers market basil and cheese there. In Pittsburgh, we ate from-scratch tomato soup with a straight-from-the-garden salad and homemade garlic bread. And we dined sumptuously on local pork with pan-fried fresh potatoes and tomatillos and a Rose tomato-mozzarella salad upon our late arrival at our current happy home–a farm just south of Ithaca, New York.
In short, we’ve been bowled over by the welcomes we’ve received over 3500+ miles of proud ground. We’ve been treated like royalty: describing some of the dishes makes me remember feast scenes in the Brian Jacques Redwall series. (Anyone else recall being impressed by those?) One special mention, along those lines, goes to the Wills family in Crawfordsville, Indiana. They fed us Good food–and a really-lot of it–on short notice: it was a true feast, prepared with love and received with thanks.
Anywhoo, after sharing a few pictures, I will stop for now. I can’t say enough thanks on this trip, even though everyone deserves it. There’s way too much more to comment upon…and I am working on preparing my remarks. Questions, comments, or topical requests?