One of my biggest passions in life is food, which can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I truly believe everyone should have a passion in their lives and a curse because I once weighed 200 pounds. While I have been able to maintain a healthy weight, somewhere along the line I lost my zeal for cooking. However, like so many other things in my life, DC helped to reignite this passion.
Before I moved to DC, one of my professors strongly urged me to check out the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market. I was a frequent visitor of the markets in North Carolina, so I was used to the world of fresh produce. In fact, I have long been a supporter of using locally grown, in season produce. However, nothing prepared me for the almost orgasmic quality of produce available at the D.C. farmer’s markets. Not only were the markets twice the size of the ones in North Carolina, they had such an incredible variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products and so many other food marvels. The very first trip to Dupont Circle ended in me spending almost $100 and lugging a huge bag of items 15 blocks (I hadn’t yet mastered the bus schedule or the wonders of Zip Car). When I got everything home (did I mention I moved up here in the beginning of summer…I did not look pretty when I finally made it back to my apartment), I spent all day exploring different flavor profiles and recipes. The beast was awoken!
While I am still a frequent visitor of the various farmer’s markets in D.C., I now get a majority of my produce from Star Hollow Farm through a program called community supported agriculture (CSA). The concept is simple: a person buys a “share” of a local farm’s harvest for their growing season. Each week, the consumer receives a portion of the crops harvested that week at the farm. There are numerous benefits to this arrangement, for both the consumer and the farmer. The farmer receives financial support (and not in the form of farm subsidies…something my sister and friend Dan abhor) and reaches out to his/her community, thus increasing their profile (and hopefully customer base). Some farmers I have spoken to in the past have said creating their own CSA helped to keep them from losing their farms. The consumer gets fresh (and for most CSA’s), organically grown produce at an affordable cost and gets to know who is growing their food. It helps to encourage the purchasing of local foods, thus reducing the shipment of food across the country (and hopefully reducing carbon emissions). Plus, you often get to try new vegetables or fruits that you normally would not experiment with because of the variety of the harvest.
With this renewed vigor for cooking in mind, I will share my food experiment successes (like this lovely blood orange, beet and red onion salad…credit must be given to my favorite food blog) and failures with you. Hopefully my passion will inspire others….or at least cause you to drool on your keyboards.