Locally grown

January 8, 2009

It’s not the best picture in the world, because I took it after dark, and while we love our Nikon D70, we’ve never invested in a good flash. So everything’s a bit more garish than it would be if taken by the light of day.

Photo faults aside, what is that magnificently red addition to a winter green salad? It’s called a watermelon radish, and I had never seen one in my life until I bought some last month. On the outside, they are the shape of the red radishes you might see in the grocery store, but they are much larger, and off-white-to-pale-green in color. But slicing them is where you get the surprise — they are bright pink-red in the center, the bizarro-radish of the plant world.

I could discern no taste difference between this and a small red radish. They were a lovely addition to our salad of bibb lettuce, arugula, and shaved parmesan.

The best part is that they are local. I’ve started ordering from a website called locallygrown.net — it’s the same group of farmers that put together our local farmer’s market during the summer. And while they aren’t all certified organic, they all promise to farm sustainably, and most times that means they aren’t spraying synthetic stuff. It’s quite convenient — the farmers upload their available goods on Sunday, and then you can order from the site on Monday and Tuesday. You can pick everything up on Thursday at the old farmer’s market on Broad Street (you pay when you pick up). I’ve been getting local milk — which I was surprised to discover is actually cheaper than organic milk at the grocery. And we’ve had a good supply of arugula all fall and winter. I can’t order all my produce from them, since it’s all southern seasonal and some items are just too pricey for my budget. But it’s nice to support the local farms, and so far I’ve only gotten really good products.

I think they’re starting to expand the site to other southern cities — so click on the link to see if there’s one in your area. It’s worth looking into.

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