pure prairie farm did bring its produce to market by late march. in fact, izabella was at the community winter market on march 6 with fresh greens. despite my plans to get in on the first harvest i was a week late in getting to the market and consequently just bought my bags this past weekend. i chose to try each of the three varieties that she had harvested that morning; yukina savoy, a green leaf lettuce (the specific variety i can’t remember), and arugula. as happy as izabella seemed to be to finally bring her and bill’s produce to market, she expressed her eagerness for the new growing season. like their peers, they have very high quality standards. izabella said her greens were tired from a long winter. she was modest about her product and issued warnings to her customers, me included. i was told the yukina savoy was best for sauteing, advised that the lettuce was good but guaranteed to be better, and warned that the arugula was clear cut and would contain a small amount of weeds. but the thing is, this is how food should work. it shouldn’t always be perfect. it should vary with the weather conditions. it should be irregular. it should contain some weeds, or dirt, or bugs. because that means that it was grown in healthy soil, on healthy land, in a sustainable way, by people who care. as with the other farms i have visited and subsequently purchased from, i love the feeling i get knowing that i saw the very same product i am buying not more than a few weeks before being tended to and readied for harvest. i love that i have personal relationships with the people attached to the hands that care for what i am about to consume. in many ways the experience is oh so close to the pride of selecting some fresh basil or a perfectly ripened tomato from my own backyard. that pride has a refreshing and sweet flavor. and a complexity that tastes so pure. sure, i know that pure prairie farm will grow better tasting produce. but in the end, the best flavor is simply the taste of local.
alimental prologuephotographer justin b. paris explores the farms and practices of the growers that help make up the geneva green market (geneva, il). from marengo to west chicago, this microcosm of the local food movement shares its land, animals, vegetables, homes, and time to educate the public through justin's eyes and words.
- all content © justin b. paris 2010-2011
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