LAND OF PLENTY
19 May 2003
It wasn't until I visited Olivia in Boise, recently, that I began to truly appreciate
living in California, especially living in the central valley, which produces a lot of the
food that folks will be eating around the country.
As she took me through the (teeny) produce section of her (large) supermarket, and as
we visited the (teeny) farmers' market where she goes once a week to see what has been
imported for sale that week, I realized that I have been spoiled all my life. I live in a
state where fruit and vegetables are available in abundance year-round, and most of themor a good
percentage of themgrown within a 100 mile radius of my back yard. (None, of course,
actually grown in my back yard, as that would imply "gardening.")
Since I became a jockette, we've been biking to the farmers' market, which is held on
Wednesdays and Saturdays. On Wednesday, after the weather turns warm, there is
entertainment. Food vendors set up booths and it's a wonderful place to have dinner on
a warm summer evening and listen to music by one of the local performing groups. On
Saturday it's a good place to stock up on produce for the coming week.
As we walked through the farmers' market yesterday, I remembered that as I got into the
heart of this new lifestyle last year, we began visiting the farmers' market on a regular
basis and I started appreciating ... savoring ... fresh-from-the-farm produce. It's
what got me through the first many months of "dieting" without ever once feeling
Juicy cherries, flats of rosy red strawberries loaded with flavor, crisp apples,
nectarines to die for... I'm a fruit fan. Vegetables less so, but even then, I became a
fan of tomatoes fresh from the vine, and asparagus picked that morning.... I became
My dietary slips of late seem to have begun, as I review the past few months, as the
summer produce disappeared and the selection available at the farmers' market became more
limited. Still fresh and delicious, but the summer fruits disappeared and I realize now
that I replaced all those nectarines and strawberries and cherries with peanutbutter and
freshly made tortillas and the pounds began to creep back on again.
Well, spring is here and the first cherries
have made their appearance. Who wants peanut butter when you can bite into a fresh cherry
We made our way through the market yesterday and loaded up. We're somewhat limited in
what we can buy by the space in the canvas bag that I attach to the back of the bike (I
used to have a basket on one side and the bag on the other, but that was on the old bike,
URL, which I've loaned to a friend), so we have to choose a bit more wiselyor make
But we walked up and down the aisle, just savoring the smells and tastes of
springa riotous display of sweet peas (the flower kind). I love sweet peas. They are
some of my favorite flowers.
Several vendors were selling cherries. We filled a plastic sack. Walt bought
his usual 6-for-$5 avocados and we got 3 baskets of strawberries so sweet it would be a
crime to dip them in chocolate or any other coating.
One vendor had mushrooms and we bought two huge portobello mushrooms and then some
That about filled up the canvas bag. Amazing how much more like "work" it is
to ride home when you've added 10 lb or so of food to the back of the bike. (Funny how
that doesn't occur to me when I've added 10 lb or so of fat to the back of me!)
Last night we had a vegetarian dinner: I marinated portobello mushrooms, and then
broiled them. I had mine plain; Walt had his with a toasted English muffin, since I didn't
have any hamburger buns (I'd checked points at the store and they were all too high in
points so I didn't buy any). I cooked the entire bundle of asparagus and it was so
flavorful and so tender that I didn't even miss having any "dip" for it. In the
past, asparagus, for me (like artichokes) has been a vehicle for eating lots and lots of
mayonnaise. But this didn't need anything. Just the asparagus itself.
And then for dessert those beautiful strawberries.
At the end of the meal, I was full of good food, full of good nutrition, full of fiber,
and didn't have the slightest craving for anything else. I'm going to have to remember to
keep the fridge stocked with fresh produce, since there are several produce markets within
a few miles of here on non-farmers' market days.
I've also started yet another hair-brained attempt to keep me in line, food-wise. I
grasp at all the straws I can (though right now, at this very moment, I'm not feeling the
need for a "crutch."). Since Fotolog has
become an obsession with me in the last few days (great photos on some of those sites), I
decided to set up a food photo log, to complement the log I'd set up for other photos. So at MyFoodLog, I'm going to start taking a photo
of every meal I eat. This may end up being horrendously boringand I have no idea how
long I'll keep at it, but I'm already starting to try to think of ways to make it more
interesting, of ways to present food so that it looks a bit more "photogenic"
(my "TV dinner" lunch of today is no indication of what I hope to do as the days
Judging by the new produce that is now appearing at the farmers' market, I suspect that
this won't be too difficult.
(thumbing my nose at Olivia...nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah)