Hello from a rainy Ventura County!
Cold weather, like clockwork, draws out the desire to tunnel down to where time is slower, sleep is plentiful, and books are a trusted companion. Yes, even here in our mild SoCal climate, winter bowls all of my aspirations aside in place of a molasses-heavy tempo of life. The body slows and desires heavy blankets, and heavy food! Every January, my body overrides everything that I’ve ever learned about nutrition or wellness and insists that now is the time to stock up.
Yet years on the farm have yielded a beautiful transformation of how to view food and the nourishment that it provides our bodies. Growing up in Los Angeles of all places, it’s neigh impossible to escape the city without swallowing an overtly negative tone to the daily ritual of eating. Bodies are rated according to their numerical value and food consumed is reduced to caloric intake, or perhaps “good” or “bad” polyunsaturated fats.
I used to spend a lot of time worrying about these things until a few years ago, when I decided not to. One of the many benefits of an intimate connection with the food that is destined for your body is the realization that food, and particularly the vegetables that come from these Camarillo fields, are wonderfully complex, fascinating organisms that are so much more than the number of heat units that they break down into.
Each vegetable came from a seed (in and of itself, a miraculous concept!) or a shoot, and went through a whole life cycle before it landed on my plate. Some veggies we nab at the end of its time, when it has exhausted its whole life producing a flower that would then grow into a seed bank to do it all over again. Some crops, like the baby greens that have been flourishing in the boxes this winter season, are just beginning their foray into the world. Others, like the artichokes that pop up every once and only to disappear for months at a time, are not “annuals” at all but have a stated need for seasonal changes that inform the plant whether it is in its first year or the second year, a time to focus on reproduction. We eat these foods, and the nutrients that they contain are seamlessly released into our bodies as proteins and essential amino acids- wow!
One of my intentions for the new year was to fully appreciate the effect that eating good food, nutritious food, delicious food has on our bodies. As a part of a vibrant community of folks who primarily draw their nourishment from a piece of land that I feel sewn to and in awe of, it has been a treat these past few years to see the shape of the kale, the carrots, and the tomatoes appear, imprinted, on the skin of those that I love. We all gain weight sometimes; we all lose weight sometimes; we all feel haggard and heavy after the holidays; we all spend time wishing for a different shape than the one that we currently inhabit. Yet still, each of these magical bodies houses a person that is vibrant in how their outer skin displays; yet still, each of these marvelous bodies is participating in the great miracle of breathing and digesting that informs the daily of our world!
I hope you had a fun time experimenting (or re-visiting!) the wonder of the nettle plant. Read on for a killer pesto recipe and please do send along any fun recipes that you come across.
Cheers to all this rain,