Flour. Whole grains. Dry beans.
When I did The 250-Mile diet year I encountered some challenges tracking down these ingredients and learning to cook with them (they don’t cook up identically to their standard supermarket cousins). I wrote in my book about illicit (by Greenmarket rules) flour deals, and twenty-five pound bags of Cayuga Pure Organic’s dry beans arriving at my one-bedroom apartment.
I stopped by Cayuga Pure Organic’s stall at the Grand Army Plaza farmers’ market. CPO wasn’t a regular at any farmers’ market when I did The 250.
The Grand Army Plaza market
is walking distance from home. CPO had four varieties of dry beans, several kinds of flour, and freekah (a whole grain that is harvested green and roasted and makes a beautiful replacement for rice since there is no locally grown rice here). Where were you during The 250? I wanted to shout.
If you ever saw the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks, you may remember the scene near the end when after having seen him go through much effort and suffering to get a fire started when he was marooned on an island, we see him back in civilization flicking a lighter on over and over again. It’s as if he’s trying to reconcile that easy, instant flame with his memory of trying to get a fire started on the island.
That is me standing in front of the CPO stall at the farmers’ market, memories of hours spent researching where to get locally grown beans, flour, and grains playing counterpart to the easy abundance in front of me.
I feel a bit guilty admitting that CPO’s “Half-White” flour has become my go-to, all-purpose and bread flour. I love Wild Hive Farm’s flours, and they were my mainstay during The 250, but they aren’t at my local Brooklyn market and CPO is. Convenience motivates a locavore as much as anyone else. But I’ll be supporting Wild Hive whenever I’m not being so lazy.
This is all good news: It means that a greater variety of locally produced ingredients has become available in my area in an ever-increasing number of markets and stores.
On a different note…
No, that’s not a seasonal tabletop display. It’s an overflow of CSA abundance (I just picked up the first of the monthly shares yesterday). You may notice that the butternut squash is starting to get ahead of me. Not to worry. Butternut-Pear (or Apple) Soup garnished with a little Old Chatham Ewe’s Blue cheese is one of the reasons to look forward to fall.
Botany, Ballet, and Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes by Leda Meredith
The Locavore’s Guide to NYC (an ever-growing online directory of when and where you can get locally produced products)