Wednesday, June 19, 2013
We have never tested this theory, but believe it to be the absolute truth: No restaurant in Paris or New York could sell you anything as tasty as a sun-ripened garden tomato seasoned with a pinch of salt.
A shopper at the Monument Square Farmers Market filled her shopping bag with edible flowers, herbs, greens, broccoli, stone milled flour and fresh tomatoes.
Press Herald file photo/Gordon Chibroski
In these last days of summer, we in Maine might as well be in a four-star restaurant when it comes time to decide what to eat. It's not just tomatoes -- we also have fantastic cucumbers, sweet corn and blueberries, which all go well with a steamed lobster, selling this year for bargain prices.
It won't be long before some of these delicacies start leaving the scene, but they will be quickly replaced with too-many-to-choose-from different kinds of apples and squash. The good produce should last until about Thanksgiving.
Then, as winter approaches, the choices for local fruits and vegetables start to fade, and we are left to our summer garden dreams. Unless your mouth waters for rutabagas or parsnips, you'll have to rely on imports and preserves.
It's easy, however, for Mainers to embrace the local food movement in August. There is so much that is so good at our fingertips right now.
The industrious ones started planting in the mud of April and May and today are reaping their reward. But the rest of us don't have to live without. There are farm stands in most Maine towns, and many places with weekly farmers markets where the folks who failed to grow their own can buy the results of someone else's labor, and eat like a king.
The fact that these fresh fruits and vegetables are good for our health should not get in the way of our enjoyment of them. Neither should the fact that eating local produce is a way of voting for open space because it supports local farms or that it keeps money circulating in our communities instead of shipping it out of state.
Eating a tomato in August, or an ear of corn or a blueberry pie, is not medicine or politics. It should be appreciated for what it is -- pure pleasure that visits us every year around this time. Visit a farmers market today and indulge.