There's a farm stand down the road from where we are staying in Rhode Island. In the mornings you can see them kneeling in the rows, harvesting vegetables for the day's offerings. When we arrived on Saturday afternoon it seemed that the flowers outweighed the vegetables in the display, as the produce counter was smaller by far. Still the green beans were beautiful and fresh and the people behind the counter were young and enthusiastic about their vegetables. One was unloading corn and Erica contemplated picking some up but since we had brought some leftover creamed corn from home I suggested that we wait until we were ready to cook the corn before buying it. The girl ringing us up agreed heartily. "We're picking every day!" She practically bubbled with enthusiasm. "Don't buy it today if you're not cooking it for dinner. Come back, there will be plenty for a while."
The next day Alex hit the farm stand. I hadn't had time to share my corn story but he came home with these new potatoes, rhapsodizing over their beauty and freshness. The potatoes are pulled from the ground by hand because the skins are still too delicate and tender to use any machinery. The benefit of hand pulling is twofold: potato skins are much less damaged and when you eat them those skins are tender and practically melting against your tongue. Nothing like the tough, slightly bitter skins you get from supermarket potatoes. He also discovered that they cut their herbs to order, a genius move that really pushes you to make the most of their freshness and not lose them in the depths of the refrigerator. This vacation we are indulging in a new perspective on food shopping, buying only what we want to cook today. Yes in many ways this approach is a return to the past but how often do we know that what's on the counter came from the ground only hours before? It's a true indulgence and one we will miss when it's time to wind our way back home.