Let’s see. What do we have here…
…a gallon bag of mesclun…some Siberian kale…tender collards…a Ziploc of salad mix with tat soi and Asian mustard greens…English cress. And, for us “Yes-eggs” subscribers, one dozen eggs from Brett Grohsgal’s brown chickens. A veritable riot of produce, and it isn’t even April yet.
I’ve mentioned the subscription from Even’ Star Farm so many times I thought you might like to see it. Brett gets up–oh, about 4 in the morning–usually on Thursdays to make the almost-two-hours drive from his 75-acre spread outside Lexington Park, Maryland, and drop off more than 100 of these boxes to clients in and around the nation’s capital. We drive about 15 minutes from our home in downtown D.C. to fetch our box off the front porch of a “neighborhood coordinator” in Chevy Chase. (You get a big discount on the subscription if you coordinate your neighborhood.)
We are among the “winter” subscribers, a season that runs from early November into May. Brett loves his brassicas, hence the profusion of cresses and collards and tat sois and arugulas. We’ve come to love them, too. But there’s so much in one box that we share the subscription with my sister and her husband. The cost: $311 per couple for the season.
As good as the vegetables and the eggs–and sometimes jams and spice mixes and flower arrangements–are the notes Brett sends out each week telling us what’s on the menu. Who knew a person could write so much, and so vividly, about the contents of a box? Brett’s missives are written with such gusto and precision–they are so detailed–that I’ve saved every one going back three seasons now as. As well as providing evidence of every seasonal thing we have consumed for the past three years, Brett’s e-mails are a window into the mind of a truly impassioned philosopher-farmer, someone who cares deeply about the land and how we feed ourselves. I’m not sure you could just bind them all together into a book. If you did, it would constitute a kind of encyclopedia of brassicas and the life of a subscription farmer, the kind of book I imagine Alan Davidson–a man of equally intense interests, and author of The Oxford Companion to Food–might write.
Brett also operates a summer subscription. But by then we will be swimming in the produce from our own front-yard garden here in the District of Columbia. We also like to see what the local farmer’s markets are offering.
Now to figure out what to do with all this stuff. So many greens, so little time. Salad? Vegetable saute? Or, could there be a frittata in our future? A little goat cheese, anyone?