Finding the Vegan Worcestershire Sauce

2043_AnniesNaturals_P-300x300I was at a large store. I don’t often go if I can avoid it. So many boxes, and bags, all that extra wasted packaging. I prefer to go to the farm and get a carrot. But there are some things the farm doesn’t have, like King Arthur Bread Flour and vegan Worcestershire sauce. Besides, the farm is blanketed in snow. There are no carrots in the winter, only eggs and meat. And farms don’t grow vegan Worcestershire sauce.

Even living the simple life, there are things I can’t make. I’ll never completely live the dream of ridding myself of bottles, boxes, and bags. I’m resigned to the fact that being a food extremist is just too–extreme. I’ll bring my iced tea in mason jars and get locally roasted coffee. I’ll rid myself of processed sugar and look with disdain at grocery carts filled with Captain Crunch, for a moment allowing my feeling of superiority decrease my overall daily dose of karma. Who’s better, really? I’m at the big store with everyone else hunting down a product no one can identify or spell. I have to ask a helpful employee.

“I know you probably don’t use this every day. You can make up an answer if you don’t know…” I say to the friendly employee sweeping up a mess in aisle 5,430. I phrase the question to give him an out should he not know. “Would you happen to know where I can find vegan Worcestershire sauce?”

He blinks two times. I continue, “Do you know where either the regular condiment aisle is or where the vegetarian stuff might be?” He blinks at me. He furrows his brow. Just when I think he might give me directions to the store where people like me usually go for things no one but second-generation hippies and world-saving sustainability nuts can identify, he speaks.

“Oh, I never make up answers. I always tell the truth. God will bless you that way. The truth will set you free. It’s done so for me,” he says. He pauses. Good. If anyone can guide me to the vegan Worcestershire sauce, it’s the Almighty. You might not think vegan Worcestershire sauce is worth the hunt, but it’s very helpful in soups, dressings, and stews.

“Go down this aisle. Look through these products here.” He waves his hand back and forth over the aisle. I look. “If it’s not there, check on the other side. Then follow the helpful green arrows to the next aisle. Check there…” Great. Vegan Worcestershire sauce is close by. Right around the corner. I start to thank him and go.

But he’s not done. “If it’s not there, look up. You’ll see another green arrow that’ll take you to the next aisle over. Follow that one and look on both sides until you find it. If you don’t, check the green arrow at the end of that row and then…”

Is he busting my prepackaged canned beans? He’s sending me row by row through the megastore. This happened to me once in Boston. I was running late for my sister’s concert.

“Yeah, it’s close by,” said the Bostonian. “Go to the end of the block. Take a left. Then, go to the end of that block and hang anotha left. Go down to the end-a that street. Take a left. When you get to the stop sign, take a left. You’ll be the-a.”

We did. Four lefts. A perfect block. Right back where we started. I wasn’t falling for that trick again.

I smiled and thanked him. He God blessed me, looking deep into my soul through my eyes. As quickly as if I’d never seen him, his gaze broke away. He continued sweeping aisle 5430. And just like that, the connection was broken.

I never did find the vegan Worcestershire sauce. The soups, dressings, and stews will have to do without. But I didn’t get sent down the wrong road this time–a lesson in and of itself. There are lots of things we think we need in life. Like vegan Worcestershire sauce. They’re superfluous. Clutter.

The important thing is staying on the right road, even in the face of distraction.

I succeeded. For once.

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Blueberries and Pickles–No, I’m Not Pregnant

Rocky Point Blueberry Farm, Warwick, RI

Rocky Point Blueberry Farm, Warwick, RI

Last week, I picked blueberries in the rain. It wasn’t that pleasant. I was cold. When I reached into the bush, water shook from the leaves, soaking me to the bone. I got colder and wetter. I started to frown. There was one drop of rain on my glasses I couldn’t get off. When I wiped it on my wet shirt, I smeared both lenses until I couldn’t see the blueberries. And I had a migraine. Annoying.

I thought about homesteading. How I planted my garden, how my husband chopped the wood, how we try to get off the grid. How the stuff we can’t do–produce eggs or meat–we get from the farm around the corner. About how close I am to getting rid of boxes, store jars, and tin cans. As I sat in the middle of rainy blueberries wishing the weather would clear, I thought, “A couple hundred years ago, I wouldn’t have had a choice to make homesteading my…(dare I say)…hobby.”
Not picking very fast. Pioneers didn't check email while farmingI never thought of homesteading as a hobby. It’s a good activity–I started out intending to save money, produce better quality food, and maybe stop global warming, prevent a few small nations from blowing each other up, or attain enlightenment. It doesn’t save money. Farming is expensive and I give stuff away.  Friends visit and remind me they like my peach salsa.
“Homesteading” is cool, though. What people once mocked me for, comparing me to their grandmother, is now chic, hip, and in. I’ve never been any of those things–I’m enjoying my fifteen minutes of fame.
But whining about wet blueberries–weak. I could never be a real homesteader on the prairie…I felt somewhat disingenuous. The pioneers didn’t have an option. They would’ve picked blueberries in the rain. And been grateful. The work would’ve been there every day. No one’s great-grandmother in Oklahoma would have skipped a day because of a weather, a lunch date, or a migraine.
Because if they did, they would have died. I watch homesteading shows on the Discovery Channel. The Alaska ones are cool–no one comes to their rescue. “Excuse me Stop & Shop Peapod…can you deliver?” I think not. Conversely, I watched a few shows where modern families pretended they were pioneers–shows where people dress up and cry after the first few days. The Alaska people never cry. I have to toughen up and be more like them. Today, In the true spirit of Alaska, I’m weeding my garden and making pickles again because I killed my last crock of kosher dills.
“HOW did you ruin pickles??” asked my friend of Russian Jewish descent. No Russian ever ruins food–that might be the last vegetable you’d see until the reincarnation of Lenin. And a Jew ruining a Kosher Dill? Heresy. Doesn’t happen.
“I didn’t weight them down. The top ones molded.” I asked around, “Can I eat them anyway?” I was so looking forward to them–I’d just eat one off the bottom. My husband said no, it’d kill me. I rationalized that cheese is mold, and the life insurance is paid up…would the pioneers scrape off the mold? They wouldn’t have had mold to begin with. Because if they did, they’d have starved.
Prairie women. My heroes.

Prairie women. My heroes.

I googled in case everyone was wrong. Google said, “Don’t eat it, moron, you’ll die.” Not trusting Google is sort of like not trusting Jesus or the threat stated in a chain letter. I tossed the pickles.

I’d be a crappy homesteader. I didn’t pick enough blueberries–too busy finishing off a text conversation and dictating ideas into Siri. Pioneers wouldn’t have stood for such behavior. And I killed the pickles. I’d have eaten them anyway because Google wouldn’t have been there to save me. I must drink some imported french-roast coffee and contemplate ways to improve.
The weather cleared midway through picking.  I remembered why I love it. I go deep into the middle of the bush, where lazy people don’t pick. Then, I crawl under the bushes, where no one goes, either, except the grandmothers who are serious about their homesteading, and little, tiny kids.
When I’m  looking under the bushes, I see an entirely different view. Seeing the berries under the leaves where no one goes reminds me of teaching. The berries at the top shine for the world. They hog all the sunshine, tasting nice and sweet. But when you climb in and under the bush, you see the berries the world forgot. They’re there, clumped together waiting for someone to pick them. I like those best–they’re bigger and sweeter because they were left alone to grow at their own pace. They leap into the bucket with excitement ready to become part of something great. This reminds me of my students, the ones who get left behind by traditional academics and need someone to peel back the branches and leaves to let them see the sunlight, too. But when they do, it is always magic.
Maybe I’m a bad pioneer and homesteader, but thinking about the blueberries this way, I decide I’m a pretty good teacher.
I smile. And I pick one more bucket before it’s time to go home.
[image 3: candgnews.com]

The Curse: How to Destroy Appliances Like A Pro

Screen Shot 2013-07-21 at 9.07.51 PMI’m going shopping for a new gas dryer. I don’t really want one. I want to hang my unmentionables over the garden fence to dry–give the neighborhood something to talk about. It’s not like I live in an area where people can see where I’d hang underwear anyway. No one will post pictures of my laundry on Instagram. If they do, they seriously need a life.

“Nothing to see, folks, move on.”

When major appliances break, my mind makes a twisted route to Plan B as if I lived in a third world nation. “I don’t really need a new dryer anyway.” I don’t want to buy one. Having a drier makes me feel guilty. I should be hanging my clothes out to dry. I could be saving the kilowatt for a part of the world that needs it.  I justify my use of the drier by saying, “Well, at least I’m not ruining the universe with drier sheets. They kill trees and produce fumes.”  I can justify my bad ecobehavior by putting down those who use dryer sheets. It works.

I do like fluffy towels that can only be achieved in the drier. They don’t have fluffy drier towels in parts of the world that need my kilowatt. That thought makes me feel guiltier, as does the fact I often use two towels. Instead of taking my clothes out of the drier right away, I often throw my wrinkly work clothes in the drier a second time for five minutes to dewrinkle when I could have ironed. Lazy, first world behavior! I am an ecocriminal, like when I forget to put my reusable bags in the back of my car before shopping.

I have lost three appliances this year, each one taking up several cubic feet in the landfill. The demise of every appliance followed a luxury purchase on my behalf. The dishwasher crapped out after I pushed the button on my first yoga retreat. The washer died two weeks ago, after my husband convinced me we needed a specific Japanese-style charcoal grill because we needed to Japanese-style charcoal grill everything, every day, for every meal. Incidentally, if your spouse convinces you that you need to charcoal grill your baking because it’s summer, leave your chocolate chip cookies out of your Japanese-style chic charcoal grill. Something about the wood-fired taste of–chocolate–that makes me want to barf. You can’t unexperience something like that once it’s hit your taste buds.

But anyway, that’s why the washing machine died. Because I bought something.

“Ha,” said the pop-up on my online banking, “You could have bought a washer!” Who needs a washer anyway? Hell, I lived in places laundromats didn’t even exist. I’ll hand wash those clothes! My family didn’t agree, so we bought a nice old tank of a washer that can wash every piece of clothes in the house simultaneously, using twice the water. I’m feeling farther away from green by the minute. If this keeps up, I fear I’ll lose my green card.

Three days ago, the drier broke–died of a broken heart because his partner of 30 years, the 70’s washer, passed. Or perhaps it was that I spent money on the next great yoga retreat my friend Marianne suggested we attend. Part of me wants to think appliances are like a parakeets that sing their swan song soon after their partner croaks. Romantic. They must go to Valhalla together. But I really think it’s the curse.

I’m superstitious. I believe this stuff. After I buy this drier, there will be no further purchases here, because I do not want to tempt fate. I’m afraid the next appliance I’d kill is my freezer. I need that for harvest season. After all, you only get to pick blueberries once a year. I’m going to need that freezer.

 

[images: denmarkandsonsappliances.com]

Food Extremists Who Are Worse Than Me

This is me. Entirely. I never made out with anyone in the produce aisle, but I feel strongly about food. I want to grow and raise what I eat. I want to eat healthy, to avoid packages. I do lots of things that are considered weird. I bake bread–it goes on the counter to rise at night so it’s ready to make in the morning. I make two types of yogurt–Greek yogurt, and filmjolk, both of which can easily be made into cheese, which I then mix with herbs from my own garden and spread on home-made bruschetta. If I could be perfect, in my own mind, I’d produce or trade for the bulk of my food. I have the land to do that now, and it’s going to get ugly–things planted everywhere–a landscaper’s nightmare, but my idea of heaven. My husband has advised me to “Stay the #$%%^ away from the front yard.” So far I have.

“People don’t like militants,” said my new friend with whom I was discussing food. Am I that bad? I don’t eat meat, I don’t like packaging, I try to avoid processed sugar, erring on the side of local honey and local maple syrup. I denounce pre-cut fruits in bags in the store and I think that the person who invented the Lunchable, is a marketing genius but the devil incarnate.

I never eat fast food–I told my son Chuck E. Cheese was the evil mouse. I haven’t taken him yet. There are much better foods to eat. Like the ones I grow myself.

I just ate my first salad from the garden. I made my own mayo for the dressing from eggs I got down the road–kidnapped right from the chicken at my request, the farmer put them  in the carton I brought from home–never even saw a fridge before they were converted into culinary greatness.

Maybe my friend is right. Perhaps I am a bit extreme. But not militant. I don’t spray-paint people’s leather shoes or threaten their eternal salvation if they eat shellfish or drink beer. I’ll even cook you a steak if you’re a carnivore guest, as long as it’s grass-fed beef.

I just think we’ve lost touch with our food and I think it’s time to find it. But I’m feeling a bit paranoid–am I really all that extreme? It’s time to engage in the great American past time of looking at other people to make myself feel better.  After all, I’m just a vegetarian–there are plenty of extremists out there worse than me.

Many  cultures don’t understand vegetarians. When I was in Russia, people would offer me meat. I’d politely decline. They’d say “Oh, just have one.” I said, “I’m a vegetarian, like Tolstoy.” Tolstoy was also a political extremist. That never helped, but it got me out of the beef stroganoff even if I had to starve that night.

Many of my students are Hispanic. Vegetarians are even less common in that space. More than one student or parent has, out of great concern, tried to send me to the doctors. “Vegetarian? You need to see someone about that.”

But am I really all that weird? I researched other diets. There are people out there who are far more particular than me. There are some really extreme foodies out there.

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 6.18.03 AMI feed paleos all the time. Their food lists are like mine, if you cross off the meat. A list of restrictions that makes an Iron Chef competition look easy. Then there are celiacs, raw foodists, vegans, and locavores, each with their own lists of prohibitions, rules, and food prep nightmares. Muslims and Jews are easy–even though I technically need a second kitchen and a rabbi to convert me to really cook properly for my Jewish friends, there’s a tacit agreement that vegetarians are understanding enough not to use bacon grease in the home-grown French cut beans, and we’re good with that. It’s the culinary secret handshake. If only solving peace in the Middle East were so easy.

So, I do my best to eat my raw carrots for breakfast unobtrusively, while I greet my next-door colleague who’s busy avoiding wheat, apples, and lactose. We drink home-juiced liquids out of mason jars and shot glasses, and the leaves in my desk aren’t inappropriate for a school setting, they’re just a blend of black and fruit teas, some of which I grew and dried myself.

Am I that far outside the mainstream? Maybe so. We planned a work outing. “You two will not be bringing the food.”

“Your loss.” I thought, as I downed another shot of my friend’s juice–two beets, a banana, pear, and just one sprig of kale–and ate my home-made sauerkraut from a mason jar. It was pretty good. And it was all mine.

[Image: beginwithnutrition.wordpress.com–today this is a link because there are some awesome recipes here!!]

How Much Manure is in Your Job?

The snow has melted. There is a really loud bird singing outside the window. Crocuses poke through the dirt, and the Yankees just got clobbered by the Red Sox–it’s spring.

Time for growing stuff.  This weekend, we constructed the garden. At the old house, I built a ton of raised beds built when my husband wasn’t looking. It was a suburbanish-urban area right under the flight path of the airport. Our yard was first thing important people and foreign dignitaries saw upon approaching the runway. Our urban homestead had the potential to make everyone smile.  I waved as planes approached the runway, hovering three feet over my treeline. The guy in the third seat behind the wing tipped his glass, waved back, mouthing the words, “Nice garden.”

“Thanks,” I mouthed back, “Enjoy your stay.”

My husband didn’t feel the same way about my homesteading. “It looks like you barfed vegetables all over this yard, like someone with ADHD invaded!” He wanted rows. I wanted production. I stuck vegetables in every pot, raised bed, and crack in the sidewalk I could. Production.

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 6.01.39 AMWe’ve relocated to the forest and fenced in space for an epic garden–the kind that’ll feed a small nation through the winter. It required more than the usual couple bags of manure–it was time to get real, so I visited the family farm down the road. Ironic that I grew up in a rural area–we all laughed about chickens, tractors and cows, and now I want to be a pseudo-farmer.  I respect them. They work hard on behalf of the nation for very few accolades–kind of like teachers. We share a common affinity.

“Oh, we have manure,” said the farmer, leading me to the bags. Point to note, you must request  “aged manure,” or “composted manure.” It makes a difference. You can’t just let the cow poop on your carrots; that’s a health hazard.

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 6.01.23 AM“Why can’t I just poop in the garden?” my son asked looking to cut out the middleman and be naked in public.

“Can’t I use the cat’s litter box?” another friend wondered.

No. It must be aged manure.  I handed over the measurements, and faster than I could say “Jimmy Cracked Corn,”  three cubic yards of manure appeared in the middle of my freshly tilled land.

Three cubic yards of manure is a lot of shit. We’ve been telling poop jokes all weekend.

The size of the pile made me wonder–if I could measure all the nonsense I’ve put up with in my careers in a tangible manner, what would it look like sitting next to this pile? And whose job would have the biggest pile?

Would a lean startup have less than a corporation, because they are so quick to measure and move, whereas corporations would let the pile sit, waiting for stockholder approval? Would police and emergency personnel have a larger pile because are paid to put up with it, or would they have zero because they have authority to do something about it? Would teachers have insurmountable piles because we can’t pick up a shovel without three layers of approval, filled out in triplicate after a national test, and by the time we get the ok, three more cubic yards would have been dumped on top?

Martha's vegetable garden. Not mine. Someday.

Martha’s vegetable garden. Not mine. Someday.

Would government officials have big piles, or would theirs be kept to reasonable levels because they have can donate parts of their piles to the rest of us? Would theirs be compounded by the manure added by opportunists, lobbyists, and extremists?

Who’d have the largest pile?

I started to think it wasn’t the size of the pile that would matter, but what happened to it. Would we smile, pick up our shovel, and use the manure to make things grow or would we let it fester into a pile that grew ever deeper… How do we make a difference in whatever we do, enjoy going to work, and grow a beautiful garden of results?

One shovel at a time, I think. Never look at the pile in front of you, just take a shovelful, rake it around, and then plant some seeds. You’ll be eating carrots, radishes, and tomatoes in no time. Everyone else will be standing around looking at their piles while you feast.

[Images: hacer.org, green.autoblog.com and marthastewart.com.]

Getting an Early Start on Common Cores Using The Economist

I am reading my son’s school newsletter. It does an excellent job discussing the Common Cores. I know this because I use Common Cores all day myself. The school is calling for a 50/50 balance of literary and informational text. I support this because I am a serious professional nerd.  Literacy’s important.  I’m tired of people who can’t read a basic newspaper–which the American press has kindly reduced to a fifth grade level. I hear soon they’ll only be featuring world leaders with two-syllable last names that at least 75% of the American public can pronounce. Netanyahu, Fernandez de Kirchner and Berdimuhamedow will be banned from print media. Unless we act now. To paraphrase my beloved Tolstoy, who never did write much informational text and is therefore O-U-T–out in favor of better things, “How much Seuss does a man need?”

Banned Books

Banned Books

In honor of the transition to informational text, we read Shel Silverstein for the last time last night. That’s about 25% too much poetry. We’re way off our targets here, which can only hurt down the road. I’m packing up that nonsense to unpack the Common Cores. We’ll use my Economist, Foreign Policy, and Mother Earth News.

When Declan was born, I used to read op eds from The Wall Street Journal and articles from Sports Illustrated. Babies love this as long as you read with the right enthusiasm. Stories like “doping,” “scandal,” “end of the economic world as we know it,” have far better hooks than Yurtle the Turtle. The life-long skills they produce are invaluable.

He can now read stock reports even if they go into negative numbers–he’s not just accessing the literacy Common Cores, we’re reinforcing numeracy as well. That’s important. High school kids have lost the skills of memorizing basic math facts, and many stare mystified at an analog clock like it came straight out of science fiction. Numeracy is critical as well. Unless you’re The Boss.

I tell my students that they’re right, math isn’t important if they want to work in my business, because if they can’t calculate their paycheck, I get to pay them whatever I want. Heck, I might even pay them in gum.

“How many sticks of gum do I get this week, boss?”

“Well, if your wage is five sticks an hour and you worked fifteen hours…how many sticks should you get?” I say chomping on a wad and blowing a bubble, having underpaid Math Deprived Employee by two sticks. AND slammed him with a word problem just to illustrate my superiority in the Common Cores.

Common Core approved informational texts

Common Core approved informational texts

All this gets back to why it’s never too early to start promoting high-level informational text literacy. My son won’t learn how to rhyme, but he’ll build a darned good chicken coop. The article has pictures, so he will have art appreciation, too.

You can never read too much instructional material on permaculture and composting. I’ve made plenty of Learnist boards on informational subjects–I’m going to make him read those and answer a set of Socratic style questions, which I’ll provide for his whole kindergarten class in a lecture on career development.

I’ve sold the Seuss, hidden the Harry Potter, and sent out the Silverstein. Go Dog Go is gone, dawg, gone. Today, we’re going to analyze The Economist’s “Rough Guide to Hell.” (pictured above). Then, I’ll plug Hell into my GPS for a geography lesson sneaking 21st century skills tech skills in, too. You guessed it, more Common Cores.

We’re keeping the Dino encyclopedia, even though dinos are dead. Dead doesn’t send a good message, “Work hard and you can be extinct.” “No matter what you do, a giant meteor may wipe you out.” But it’s instructional, he likes it. It sends a grave warning about global warming (Science Common Cores) in addition to having very big words (instructional text literacy), so it can stay.

It’s 5AM. Declan just waltzed into the living room, “Mommy, I can’t sleep.” I said, “Come on, let’s get started tackling these Common Cores.” He took Fluffy the Sheep and ran back to bed. Which is probably just as well. I want him well rested for when the learning begins.

 

 

Kletzmer Music, The Farmer’s Market, and Rebuilding Rhode Island

photoI love the farmer’s market. I feel comfortable. There are people like me at farmer’s markets. There are people with canvas bags, no doubt tons of vegetarians, and older parents.  That makes me smile because though I feel young at heart, and I hate it when I’m the only parent around that remembers the Reagan administration.  I love sitting with people who dress their children in colors from the 70’s, including stripes, dots, and patterns in one outfit. I feel at home.

This weekend at the farmer’s market, we were lucky. We got a front row bench to the band playing in the corner–usually it’s a bluegrass trio or Celtic music, both of which I love, but this time we got somewhat of a treat–Kletzmer music. A group called Ezekiel’s Wheels out of Boston, some of whom, I learned, were financing grad school, and a couple of whom were full-time professional musicians.

I love Kletzmer music. It’s entrancing. It makes me feel a combination of emotions all in the space of one song that few other types of music evoke. It’s the only music that can sound joyful even in the minor key.

I think Declan thought so, too.  Irish music holds his attention for a little while, within limits, probably because you are supposed to get a beer. It’s in the Irish Rulebook. Kletzmer kept him hypnotized and dancing for an hour and a half–a world’s record for a kid who flits around faster than the thoughts in my brain.

As soon as the first song ended, he said, “THAT IS THE UGLIEST GUITAR!” I bent down to shush him as soon as I heard the word “ugly,” because I didn’t want a repeat of past public incidents like the “Why is your nose so big?” scandal or the more horrific “Why are you so fat?”  But it was too late–he bolted away toward the quartet. He stopped in front of the bass player with wonder in his eyes.  “That’s a funny guitar.”

“It’s a stand-up bass,” the musician informed him.

I thought that was a good answer. There was another parent there. An older parent.  His little person was dancing too. “Ahhhh!” she shrieked.

“What’s that?” He said, “Right, it is a stand up bass.”  I didn’t want to argue, but there is no way that “Ahhhh!” coming from a pre-verbal child translates to “Daddy, that’s a stand up bass,” any more than Declan’s original applause at the scales played by the fiddle player and clarinetist meant, “Mommy! I love those arpeggios!” But alas, we older parents are ever so hopeful our child will be the next Einstein or Yo Yo Ma. In this economy, it’s our only retirement plan.

By the third song, Declan had forged a solid relationship with the fiddle player, Jonathan, a grad student at BU who Declan apparently booked for his bar mitzvah. Then, being informed he is not Jewish he converted on the spot, reciting half the Torah so that in just seven or eight short years he can have a bar mitzvah and get a fiddle of his own.

The amazing part to watch both as a smiling parent and a failed musician was that the boy really got the emotion of the music–during the slow pieces, he stomped around like a dinosaur, and said, “Mommy, this is sad.” During the fast songs, he was a five-year old whirling dervish spinning toward the heavens reminding me that music truly touches the soul at all ages.

photo copy 3By the end of the farmer’s market, I’d scored ten pounds of B-grade apples and a nice cup of New Harvest Roaster’s “Steamroller Blend,” which, I might add, though delicious, certainly required a “you will move faster today” warning label.  I enjoyed a spinach-feta crepe from The Creperie, a fantastic local restaurant that can turn anything into a flat pancake and have you asking for more.

Declan stuck with the standard fare–kettle corn and a cupcake, both of which had the nutrition police lurking, I’m sure, but a kid needs to keep up his energy to dance and contemplate a career in Kletzmer. He confirmed that he still wants to be a paleontologist, but he does like “this music.” Maybe if Kletzmer had been around, the dinosaurs would have been happier, and a few would have made it–who knows. That will be his job to find out.

There are a couple more weekends of indoor Winter Farmer’s Market, and then we move outdoors for the season of mud and planting. This year, I’ll be busy planting my own large sustainable enterprise. But moments like these will bring me back to the farmer’s market, not just for the musicians, but for the sense of adventure and community–to support the people who made their products for me, who came out to play for me, who fished for me, and grew vegetables for me.  It’s the sense of community in a world where we sometimes forget about such things that keeps me coming back for more.

It’s nice to see Rhode Island building that community once again–it’s definitely gaining momentum here–the small businesses growing, the family farms gaining prestige, the entrepreneurs coming into the state;  I’m glad we’re putting Rhode Island back on the map. I can see it more and more clearly every day–Startup Weekends, storefronts filling, and businesses like my husband’s expanding. It will be nice to see this trend continue. It’s even nicer seeing Rhode Islanders support it with such enthusiasm.

My ultimate goal is that we can sustain this sense of community–where everyone supports each other and takes a moment to chat and smile at places like the farmer’s market, and we all stop and enjoy the music. That is what I find at these markets. And it truly is magic.