There are babies, and then there are babies that seem to look right into you in a way that is breathtaking. I met such a soul yesterday, just nine weeks in this human body, his name is Leo and he absolutely found his way into my heart…
I was visiting his parent’s farm (Hilary and Lincoln of Sawyer Farm in Worthington) for the first time to pick up my first CSA share. I met them recently at a neighbor’s and was simply captivated by their open way. They have been working their farm for four years now, young and vibrant and clearly connected to the community as evidenced by the cheery customers who arrived while I was there. Leo was in a bouncy seat on the floor and I was drawn to him like a magnet. He had just finished a bottle of milk and I gently placed my hand over his full belly. Energy exuded from his little body and he responded with an effusive smile and gurgle. A smile so wide that the hint of emerging dimples became clear. Eyes locked, I felt like an ancient dance was taking place, this little wise one sharing something important with me…
I filled a bag with fresh lettuces, greens, several kinds of radishes, carrots and beets still covered with dirt, still fresh and crisp from winter storage. I left with my bag of bounty, a beautiful beef soup bone, beef stew meat, a package of bacon, a dozen eggs, and a smile. Everything they offer at their farm is touched by the sweet energy of a willingness to share. I felt so connected! Here was a young family committed to working the land in a sustainable way (they actually till without power tools), producing abundance to share with their community, including their little Leo.
Driving home, I was appreciating the way in which this young family is able to bring others into their lives. I thought of all the years I have been writing this blog, endeavoring to share in my own way with moments of connection. I thought of today’s offering while walking along the brook earlier. The wind was blowing fiercely, and yet the water, so low now in the absence of rain, was still and calm, reflecting shadow and color and life from the warmth of the sun in a magical way, equally breathtaking.
It was only when walking back up through the green that the wind could be seen too, also breathtaking, twirling the ferns like pinwheels in its gust.
What little Leo just illuminated for me was the power of actual human connection, whatever size or form it might come in, and how important it is to be open to and experience this too in addition to all the moments of beauty and peace and love experienced in nature.
I stop at the local corner store for my favorite locally made fresh baguette and a large bottle of locally made stout beer for the weekend. Home, I make a pile of the fresh ramps and leaves of tender Russian kale to cook for supper.
I make an appetizer of a chunk of the fresh buttered bread with sliced peppery radish and a glass of a favorite Malbec (Durigutti, 2013)
while chopping two cloves of garlic to cook the greens with. I scrub the dirt of one of the carrots and taste it. OMG. Really. The sweetest carrot I have ever tasted! Could it be that the dirt actually locks the flavor in place, and this is the secret to the divine flavor of freshly picked food? I decide to grate the carrot and have it fresh in some way with the greens…
Garlic goes in pan with some olive oil and after a few moments, add a scant quarter cup of rinsed quinoa. With heat on high, add about a half cup chicken broth (next time I will use homemade meat broth from the bone I just brought home…), bring to a boil, and add the chopped greens. Cover and turn fire to low. Cook until quinoa is done, adding more liquid if necessary. Add a splash of tamari and the grated carrot, turn fire off, cover and let sit for just a moment.
In the plate ready to be eaten,
I feel anticipation. The taste is unexpectedly refined and intensely flavorful, the tender leaves of the greens truly melting in my mouth. The sweetness of the carrots is sublime in combination with these other savory parts.
My enthusiasm for cooking with such fresh food has once again peaked…
I think, the entire being of sweet Leo already knows the value of such fresh food. And soon enough, he will be able to taste it too!