Summer Intentions: Eating Fresh
The plants on the balcony have exploded with growth and height and color. Mint has made its way into a few weekday cocktails and almost every bowl of summer pasta and salad has been graced with ribbons of basil, parsley, and cilantro.
A week or so ago, we harvested a handful of tiny tomatoes, cut them into slivers and piled them on top of toasted bread spread thick with mayo. A simple sprinkle of salt on top and summer suddenly becomes something to eat, best enjoyed with a cool evening breeze washing over a body sweaty from a pre-dinner walk.
But growing food in pots on porches doesn’t come without its drawbacks. While the cucumbers grow tall, stretching out vines to find anywhere on which to cling, their fruit has landed bitter on our tongues. A lack of watering, perhaps, a shallow pot, maybe too much sun. For now, we coax them along, seeing if we can turn them toward sweetness before the quick Wisconsin summer is over.
In the meantime, we follow the directions of a friend, making the five-minute trip to a local farm where acres of straight vegetable rows roll down slight hills into a valley. Inside a small barn, bins overflow with greens, zucchini, squash, beets, onions, cucumbers—all carefully picked, thoughtfully washed. Bags heavy laden with dinner and breakfast and lunch bites, we head home to peel, chop, and eat. At night, when the moon’s wind chases at the heat, raspberries and peaches and blueberries turn into pies and crumbles and breakfast bars, lining the counters, awaiting forks and hands and dollops of cream.
I can feel home here, see the fields of my childhood, hear the chattering of my sister, my brothers weeding rows of corn. And I know that everything returns always unto itself, a circle, life in orbit. Here, hundreds of miles from the land that birthed me, I can see it, smell it, touch it.
For now, that’s enough to hold a heart steady.
In your corner,