Week 44, June 22–28
Sometimes I think a lemon just might be my favorite fruit. I said this once to your stone fruit farmer, Uncle Vern, while we were driving to meet up with the folks from Community Seafood in Santa Barbara. (This is Amy Beth, by the way.) From the driver’s seat, he shot me a look that very subtly said, “You can’t be serious,” and then, in an almost scripted moment, he reached into the center console and handed me the season’s first aprium. I don’t know if he changed my mind or not —lemons just make so many things so much better—but it was a very well-made point.
One of the perks of my job here at Abundant Harvest is the opportunity for great conversations with the men and women growing your food. The ability to eat really well is up there too, but talking to your farmers can be equally as much of a good time.
Since the beginning of the year, we started recording some of those conversations and, sticking to a farmer’s figure-it-out, DIY approach to making things happen, we’re producing a podcast for you subscribers to let you in on some of the highlights and give you 15 minutes of connection time with your farmers while you’re driving or cooking or working out, etc. We’re four episodes in now, and I have to say, it’s starting to turn out pretty cool. If you’re curious, I’d suggest pulling up the Abundant Harvest Podcast in an app on your phone next time you need to pass some time, and starting with Episode 4, then go 2, then 3, and go back and check out Episode 1 after that if you’re still into it.
Or you could hold out for the next two episodes, coming out later this summer. One was recorded on a boat with your fishermen in the Santa Barbara harbor (after the lemon vs. aprium conversation) and the other, in the shade of an old barn in Kingsburg with Alma, one of the supervisors at KMK Farms.
A slice of Alma’s story is featured in the summer edition of our digital magazine.
Alma had spent ten years doing quality control for a conventional farm before coming to work at KMK, and after all that time working with conventionally farmed, cookie-cutter-perfect Roma and Beefsteak tomato varieties, the oddities and delights of organic and heirloom tomatoes were a whole new frontier for her. She says when she got started, she didn’t know what a perfect heirloom tomato would look like, she didn’t have a standard to judge them by. So, in rediscovering perfection for KMK’s heirloom varieties, taste and freshness took over for symmetry, and those funky-looking fruits of the vine won her over in just one season. Some of those one of a kind heirlooms might even be in your box today, and if not today, very soon.
Since I live just down the road from the KMK Farm Store, I was able to start in on some of their heirloom tomatoes a couple weeks ago. Perfectly ripe, saturated in color through and through, juicy, and with a full on flavor of something like sunshine and good earth, that first bite of tomato this year was taking me to heaven.
Sometimes I think I could make it through the rest of the summer on just sourdough bread, olive oil, and those tomatoes. But if I learned anything from the lemon/aprium conversation, I’d better watch what I say, because summer sweet corn is just starting, and those green on the outside, red on the inside Mariposa plums or JND’s annual mystery melon might just make me eat my words. I guess it’d be a fruitful conversation to have, and either way, your farmers are making it easy to…