Saturday, July 16, 2011

Concord Farms

Steve, my father-in-law, has some new land in North Mississippi on which he has decided to plant an abundance of summer crops. On the map, his place is called Concord Farms, and it is just about the quietest spot we've ever been. Hawks silently circle, and the barely perceptible wind is the lone background noise. The garden rows are meticulously kept; weeds find no mercy there, and many deer look longingly through the fence at all that's growing.

We went out for a visit a couple of weeks ago when everything was just about to happen. And since then, there's already been a lot to harvest: cardboard boxes and blue buckets full of potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and peas. We are so proud of all he has done to grow amazing food, and we're really looking forward to the okra, eggplant, and tomatoes he is sure to share in the coming weeks.

The first thing we made with some of the bounty was a trio of pizzas for a dinner party: squash blossom and ricotta, truffled potato and goat cheese, and caramelized onion and smoked tomato, with ingredients that I pulled from the ground that morning. Cooking this way is an experience that makes a concrete connection between the idea of food and the reality of the hard work it takes to tame the land and convince it to produce crops.

I saw Steve yesterday as he dropped by a mess of purple hull peas. We all stood around the kitchen counter shelling them, and he promised me a key to the garden so I could go out and pick anytime. Now I find myself daydreaming of quiet moments at Concord Farms with a hat on my head as a shield from the sun and my hands in the dirt.

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