Ah, the 4th of July. It’s always been a difficult one for me to be honest. After all, when I was a kid growing up in the UK, we just used to call it Friday. If, you know, it was a Friday. Apart from when we spoke to Americans, when we used to have to pretend that we were in mourning for the loss of our colony south of Canada.
Fast forward a few years, and I suddenly found myself living in the self-styled Greatest Country On Earth (TM), and suddenly July 4th had a great deal more meaning. By which I mean that it was now a Friday that we didn’t have to go to work. If, you know, it was a Friday. Suddenly July 4th was the greatest thing on earth, and a fitting commemoration of my homeland’s graceful and fully amicable return of this country to its rightful owners.
Move on to the present day, and I’m now an American marking my second Independence Day in the United States. And, as is fitting for such a celebration of what it means to be an American , I today found myself walking the aisles of a major grocery store chain that can’t quite break into the New York City market despite their better efforts. And frankly, it’s pretty astonishing what you can find in there. From 800 types of grated cheese to breakfast cereal with more sugar in it than can be conceivably lifted by the average four year old, it’s a temple to food-gone-bad.
But one thing stands out more than any other.
Step forward the Jimmy Dean’s Blueberry Pancakes and Sausage. On A Stick. After all, let’s not imagine the chaos that would ensue if somebody actually had to pick up a fork to eat this (use of knives to eat food having apparently been outlawed by the founding fathers in the US following the British retreat). The tragedy is that somebody in the Jimmy Dean organization came out of a brainstorm for new products one day thinking, ‘I’ve done it! I’ve invented the next big thing – fast cars and big bonuses here I come!’ He likely had a coronary after one too many Blueberry Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick, but those three minutes of dreaming were pretty damn glorious.
All of this got me to thinking about food in America, and the perils of getting what you wish for. After all, Britain may (wrongly) not be renowned for its food culture, but we don’t have sausage pancakes on a stick, last time I looked. You’ve got the founding fathers to thank for this, you know.
For those of you with kids, there’s a book by Toni Morrison called ‘The Big Box’ which philosophizes about the process of kids growing up and becoming independent. When you think about blueberry pancakes and sausages on a stick, you can’t help but wonder whether the words were maybe written about the United States after all?
“I know you are smart and I know that you think
You are doing what is best for me
But if freedom is handled just your way
Then it’s not my freedom or free.”
Ah, you kids can’t handle your freedom. Luckily we’ve got fresh fruit and vegetables, picked only a few hours ago, coming our way tomorrow morning. Oh, and by the way, I still spent almost a hundred dollars in that unnamed store. I’m an American these days, after all.
Here’s what you can expect to receive in tomorrow’s CSA share. And Happy Independence Day to all our members!
Cauliflower or Broccoli
This is also the first week of the fruit share!
Note from the farm:
When we collect eggs every day, it’s always striking how different ours look than what you see at the grocery store. Buy a dozen commercial eggs and they all look identical; but ours are different colors, shapes and sizes, depending on the breed of the hen, the time of year, the age of the hen. etc. You might notice that our eggs are on average quite big; I think it’s because our hens have free-choice feed available, whereas caged hens are given limited rations. But right now, you will probably notice some smaller eggs in the mix. That’s because we have a big group of young hens who are just beginning to lay. These first eggs are called “pullet” eggs, and they are a nice reminder that chickens aren’t just a uniform commodity, but living creatures that change over the seasons.