Monday, October 08, 2007

Summer Joys

In my conversion to full-on Northern California foodie, I went to a very unique party yesterday that nicely capped off the summer.

Since the spring we've been getting a weekly farm box from a CSA, but our farm has recently run into hard times! The highly destructive mediterranean fruit fly was spotted in the area (not on the farm), and everything within a four mile radius, including our farm, has been quarantined. Nothing that the wily fly likes to live in can be transported off of the farm, including the luscious late season tomatoes and pluots. The poor farm is left with thousands of pounds of healthy and juicy tomatoes of all breeds and colors that will rot on the vine.

In an attempt to turn lemons into lemonade, the farm invited its members to a sauce party, where they picked over 2,000 pounds of tomatoes and invited us to turn them into marinara to take home for free! (Once the tomatoes have been heated to a boiling point for 30 minutes, they're okay to take out of the quarantine zone.) The scene was not to believed: hundreds of people stood outside in the shade of the poplars among barrels of green, orange, yellow and red tomatoes of all sizes and shapes, chopping away, trading recipes, and throwing the fruit into enormous pots, along with the farm's basil, rosemary, thyme, onions, eggplants, bell peppers, hot peppers, and lavendar salt. Taking care to avoid stepping on the wandering chickens, we then carried our overflowing pots to just-assembled camp stoves to let them stew. The setups ranged from the primitive (ours, with a rickety one-burner camp stove), to people who had brought tomato grinders and full ranges! The fun was rounded out with a bloody mary bar and all the tomatoes you could eat.

Needless to say, we had pasta for dinner.


Speed McQueen said...

I hereby second Nancy D's approbation for the event. Trying to eat locally, while wonderful for many reasons (self-satisfied NorCal foodies will enumerate them for you in asked), does not exactly put you in close contact with where the food literally comes from. One remains, if we follow Marx's line, alienated from the means of production.

Thusly we set out to meet those canny farmers, the lovely lumpenproletariat who stock our pantry. And it was wonderful to see our food still on the tree, and make use of what would otherwise have gone to waste. Those striving to eat locally and source all their food, it seems to me, have a responsibility to meet their producers and see where their food comes from. What, ultimately, is the end to this modish geographical fixation if we don't forge the relationships it's meant to engender?

betty spaghetti said...

Great points and popping images, you both! This sounds delicious and also beautiful. I agree that we should meet farmers. We interact with their work so much, and not with them, what gives?