Homegrown, Farm Fresh….oh, and “Goblin Market”

I’ve never been one to buy organic produce simply because I’m not really confident of the veracity of the term, and I don’t want to pay exorbitant prices for organics when current studies reveal that they are no healthier than their supermarket counterparts. Indeed, the government publication, Organic Farming in Canada: An Overview, indicates that….

“Although beneficial to the environment, organic farming methods are not guaranteed to produce healthier foods than those produced by conventional farming methods.  Organic farming standards do not include an obligation to produce higher-quality products – which does not mean that organic farmers are not capable of achieving such results.  The label “organic” does not provide any guarantee of a product’s quality and nutritional value.  Furthermore, organic farming is subject to the same rules as conventional farming with regard to hygiene and health safety.  A report by the U.K. House of Commons Agriculture Committee, tabled in January 2001, noted that there is currently no proof that food produced through organic farming is healthier.”

And I’ve never found organic produce to taste any better…or any different really, and that is the real disappointment! In fact, I stopped buying certain beloved fruit–like strawberries and peaches–years ago because I love them so much that I’m invariably disappointed when I purchase a basket of beautiful looking strawberries at the market only to have them taste like styrofoam (not that I’ve ever tasted styrofoam, but you get the idea).

Homegrown and farm fresh produce is another matter altogether. It is invariably sweet and juicy–and it always tastes like the fruit of childhood memories.

Now, we grow no fruit of our own here at Sideways Cottage, and I suspect it’s unlikely we ever will since our little half acre isn’t fenced and the deer eat anything they can reach (and those little buggers can reach!).

sambar-deer-reaching-for-leaves-on-tree.jpg

However, today in a perfect storm of generosity, we happen to have in the fridge homegrown plums from a neighbour, farm fresh strawberries from my sister, and farm fresh, hand-picked, and home-pickled(!!) blueberries from my niece.

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strawberries2

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The resulting fruit salad tastes like ambrosia, particularly topped with soy yogurt mixed with the juice of Annie’s pickled blueberries, and a sprinkling of sunflower, pumpkin, and poppy seeds. Served with a couple of toasted slices of  Caravaggio Plum Loaf (with a teensy smear of my beloved peanut butter), this morning’s meal was the most perfectly succulent breakfast I’ve ever eaten…

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It was so delicious that I’m going to try to visit as many fruit-growing farms around the island this fall to gather whatever delicious homegrown and farm fresh bounty I can get my greedy little hands on.

I’ve not done much cooking with fruit in the past, so perhaps (hopefully!!) this endeavour will result in a few new recipes!

Oh, and the recipe for Annie’s Amazing Pickled Blueberries can be found here!!

And I’ve been very remiss about posting a song of the day, so today I’ll post a link to one of my favourite poems of the Victorian era: Christina Rosetti’s “Goblin Market.”

It’s a long poem, but here’s a sample, and you’ll get the idea of why it’s appropriate for today’s post (though the poem is actually about the dangers and seductive nature of premarital sex for young women in the Victorian era–poor old Laura just had to give in to those goblin merchants and “suck their fruit globes fair or red”):

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”
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