We’re a few weeks into our farmers’ market season here in the Berkshires. We’re in a new location this year, which is a huge deal because the market had packed into the parking lot of the old train station behind town hall for almost 3 decades. This year, we’re at the Great Barrington Fairground, a place which both as a cause and a location is very close to my heart. The fairgrounds housed an actual fair through my whole childhood, and every September, I remember going to see the apple pies and the gargantuan pumpkins and my favorite, the demolition derby. In 1995, a tornado hit our town, taking out buildings here and there wherever it felt like it. The tornado ripped through the fairgrounds, and although there was some rebuilding after that, the property ended up getting stuck in the hands of people from far away who didn’t care about it. Finally last year, friends of mine got the money and energy together to buy it and in the hopes of returning it to the community. I couldn’t be happier, and I love being there at the market with the mountain behind me, standing in the place which for so long now has been empty save for teenagers looking for hidden places. The ground itself seems to be glad to have us. Continue reading
This past weekend, we had our first photo day for the new book.
The new book. (Hold on. Deep breath.)
What it is that makes friendship last? No one would say that we are anything close to who we were back then when we first met, but still we know and love each other now, recognizing that each layer of onion skin, while different from the last, is between you were (who I know) and who you’ll be (who I hope to know). Even back then when we were at the beginning (me, tiny 13, you worldly 17), I felt that I needed to stick around to see who you’d be. And although we’ve seen each other only a handful of times in the decades since, we’ve somehow managed to meet each other where we are just then. Continue reading
On exactly this day of last year, I introduced you to my lemon tree. I was proud, awed, and most of all, optimistic about its chances for survival. I swept up every fallen leaf until there wasn’t one left on the tree, and then, bolstered by encouraging cheers from friends that “lemon trees just do this, and they always come back,” I trimmed back the wood in search of green. I trimmed and I trimmed until the tree was just a trunk in its pot, and then, perhaps to punish myself, I left the dead trunk on the porch for the entire summer where it could continue to remind me that I had failed the life that had once resided there. Later in the season, I was at the nursery and the owner (who had both supplied the original tree and given advice and support when it was in distress) asked me how the lemon tree was doing. Head down, without meeting his eye, I confessed that the lemon tree had officially expired. Continue reading
Sugar is in the news a lot lately. We’ve been talking about this some over on Facebook, and it certainly came up a few months ago in our conversation about nutrition labels. In Mark Bittman’s March 25 column in the New York Times, he pretty much summed up the current thinking on what’s good and bad–at least today:
…The days of skinless chicken breasts and tubs of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter may finally be drawing to a close…But the real villains in our diet — sugar and ultra-processed foods — are becoming increasingly apparent. You can go back to eating butter, if you haven’t already.
And there you have it. Yay fat! Boo sugar. This lines up with the thinking that seems to be present over on the bestselling cookbooks on Amazon right now, too. Paleo, juicing, smoothies, weight loss, busting “sugar and carb cravings,” more weight loss, and lots of quitting sugar. When it comes to the demonizing of sugar, there’s some variety. Some people are just anti-refined sugar or hidden processed food sugar, and some people expand the evil bubble until it includes fruit. Either way, the general word on the street is that we’re all addicts in various amounts of denial.