We’re making headway! The grasses are pushing impatiently and inexorably through the field grass, sward really, up in Aroostook, and we’re caught up on dispatches into March now–any day here I’ll be current, and can regale you with non-dispatch related ramblings and thoughts on local agriculture and eating.
Up here with all the snowload this winter, the spring is lagging some 7-10 days, and the riverbottom fields were mostly underwater until yesterday. Today there are huge chunks of winter ice, jumbled and dirty on potato fields, with logs strewn here and there across the orderly remnants of last year’s rows.
But the robins are fat and vocal, the bears are moving around again, and the beavers are in a frenzy of spring chores out back, so it’s coming slowly.
This dispatch originally went out March 6, 2014.
The Big Dig 2014 continues…
1. Salad Cut Kelp
2. Lettuce Mix from Flying Pond Farm
4 . Popcorn from Green Thumb and also from Green Ledges Farm
5. Olivia’s Garden Lettuce Heads
6. Asiago from Sonnental in 5# half wheels
7. Napa cabbage!
8. Parsnips from Goranson Farm
9 . Coarse and/or fine rye from Aurora
10. Storage Onions available
We jokingly called our freezer discovery mission here at Crown O’Maine ‘the Big Dig’. Little did we know it would last more than a week, or that we might, with a bit of sustained effort, unearth treasures of many types – not all of them frozen. If any of you are thinking of the recent news story of the frozen prehistoric virus, that’s not where I’m heading here! (It was tempting to link the themes though….)
It takes the sustained interest and enthusiasm of a single minded ologist (or many of them, in our case) to bring these foods, collectively, to your doorstep. Lucky for COM the fact that my research is privately funded (thanks, ahem, to yourselves) allows this to be an ongoing project, with a dedicated and passionate staff.
Lest my words convey that we study and collect static specimens of the cuisine of a long-dead people, allow me to supply one ologist-prefix option: terroirologist? I know, its a bit hard to say ten times fast, but terroirologist (I like ‘terr-wall-o-gist’) seems more appropriate than locavore (because you all know it’s not JUST about consuming the food). It’s not even just the thrill of the chase or the large quantities of batch-roasted on Maine wood coffee that get me up in the morning. There is a more elusive and thrilling idea I’m pursuing.
There are people, we call ourselves Mainers, who eat everyday (as most humans do), who actually still make food with their own hands from the very land they also walk upon (with any luck and presuming little snow accumulation). This food is regionalized, even within the state, cultural, on so many different levels, and (this is where it gets REALLY exciting, folks) evidence IS stacking up that there are distinct flavor profile differences among carrots from our distinct micro-climates and soil types.
Chefs, I know this comes as no surprise. Like most things ologist, there are those who are early adapters ahead of scientific evidence and then there are those who have the discipline to empirically prove things. I’m more of a sensationalist somewhere in the middle I suppose.
So while you ponder the implications of widely understood terroirology, please put your Crown O’Maine orders together. Every item on our list comes, in my mind, from a region of geographic and cultural importance.