Fresh–picked baby kale, lightly sautéed in grape seed oil with garlic, and topped with two beautiful eggs laid by a friendly neighborhood chicken.
I knew this kale was going to be good when I saw it lying purple and supple and freshly picked in a basket at the Sunnyside Farm Market at 44th and Vallejo in Sunnyside when I got there Saturday morning.
I was greeted at the garden gate by a smiling Lisa Rogers who showed me, one by one the treasures offered up by her magical urban garden this week. I had the good sense to immediately claim all of the kale that she had and a stunning array of little bitty tomatoes. I picked out a beautiful Italian zucchini to make squash ribbon salad out of and a handful of purple pole beans that I plan to blanche and incorporate into a veggie platter that I am putting together. I left also with two bags of exquisitely fresh baby arugula that I cannot wait to taste dressed in light vinaigrette topped with shaved hard cheese. Yum!
Eating fresh food from as close to the ground as possible is really good for us. But even more, eating food from a local garden whose soil was created by the farmer who with the look of a proud parent, hands you the jewels from that soil, is a pretty personal, and dare I say, emotional experience. I mean really, it is quite different from the experience you have with an Egg McMuffin breakfast that was handed to you in a paper bag through a window by a well-meaning but tragically underpaid stranger.
Everything means something, but some things mean more than others. The food we put in our body should be real food, and it should make us strong and happy. It is our body’s fuel, but more than the energy produced by the burning of the calories of this food, there is the energy of the intent and passion of the people whose hands are in the dirt.
The history of humanity is cyclical and just as we once gave up our food producing responsibility in the past to some people, somewhere that we didn’t know, we are circling back to a place where we accept and embrace the experience of raising our own food for our own families in our own neighborhoods. Up-close and personal food is good and good for us.