Buying fresh organic vegetables in the winter can often be an exercise in patience and perserverence. Even though i live fairly rural and have access to an organic CSA, the offerings just don't make it the whole week. Heck, they barely make it through the weekend. Sure, there is a great member owned food co-op about a half an hour away in one direction, and a lovely privately owned health food store about a half hour away in another. But I crave the bounty of the summer and fall markets, the lushness of produce picked right before its arrival at market, the aroma of fresh herbs mingled with the scent of sun warmed tomatoes.
Fortunately I live close to a progressive family of Amishmen who do not spray. They are organic without the paperwork. Most of the children are grown and have farms within a close radius of each other. The father is an amazing man, well read on the tenents of biodynamic farming and a true pioneer in our local farming community. We've shared many a recipe, and though it doesn't work with my meal plan, is quite the cheese artisan. The extended families all offer different winter vegetables. One has a plastic greenhouse and plants gorgeous winter greens in the earth that are picked upon request. That farm also has every winter squash under the sun for sale, and white potatoes. Another farm offers sweet potatoes of every hue, another watercress sprouts, fresh cornmeal and the sweetest carrots you've ever tasted. Then there are the odds and ends that just seem to magically appear. Broccoli here, greenhouse tomatoes there..
That's when I start to go a little crazy. I'll spy broccoli at one farm, and wonder what goodie may be at another, and before I know it, I've made the rounds. I use to be naive enough to think that they all just thought I shopped at their farm, and not their siblings. But last week I got caught. The whole family was gathered at one house. I pulled in the drive on my way to buy winter squash, which is for sale on the porch, when who should open the door for me but the family patriarch. I felt like I had my hands in the cookie jar. He gave me a big grin, and asked if I was after eggs, which they also sell. I said no, squash. I buy an insane amount of vegetables from each of them, and they all just shook their heads and grinned. I made a comment about their family feeding mine, and got a chuckle from the matriarch. Then I asked if they could pick some greens too.