May 30, 2012
The bounty of local food fills my plate and inspires the theme for the Fall 2012 issue of Pacific magazine.
Spinach and lettuce and beets and onions and…mmmm.
I spent many years in colder climates, missing the gradual emergence of summer, the one-after-the-next ripening of fresh produce and the bountiful table that a home garden produces.
In Alaska, spring is better called “break-up,” the season when winter’s snow berms melt into a muddy mess. In Wyoming, it’s more of an eye-blink: A 20-minute rain shower marks the transition from the biting cold to blistering heat.
I tried to grow food in both places. I’m an Oregonian, after all, and I enjoy nothing so much as a salad from my backyard, a fresh berry wrestled from a stickery bramble and a juicy tomato plucked from the vine. I failed, probably because I expected it to come too easily (people do succeed, somewhat, even if I couldn’t).
I turned to farmer’s markets and CSAs and, even then, tried not to compare what little produce I could find to the wealth that I knew would be growing here at home. The markets were fun, if not always laden with food. (And they were teasingly short, starting in July and ending in early September, just when I expect harvest to be at its peak!)
And so, with much delight, I have stopped in at the Forest Grove Farmer’s Market each week since it opened May 16. And each time, I have walked away with goodies—bread baked with fresh cheese and herbs, bundles of spinach and new baby beets and, with luck tonight or next week, a few starters to supplement my family’s garden with my new obsession: spaghetti squash.
It’s amazing to be back in the Pacific Northwest and surrounded by such a bounty. It’s also humbling, to realize what a gift surrounds us, and how many people—even here—are still starving for healthy food. It’s that realization that prompts the Fall 2012 issue of Pacific magazine: food.
We will explore how food is a part of who we all are, a part of our culture and identity. We will explore how food is a business and how agriculture feeds, quite literally, much of our state. And, we will look at just how much hunger surrounds us and the many people who are fighting to make a difference and feed those in need, for a day and for a lifetime. The issue publishes in early September 2012.
In the meantime, be sure to check out the Forest Grove Farmer’s Market—just a block from the Pacific University campus, on downtown Main Street—or a market near you as you enjoy your summer.