Julie Powell complained that an obsession with local eating a la Alice Waters leads to shopping replacing cooking. And perhaps she has a point, because in the last few weeks, preparing for my Eat Local Challenge month, I've done very little cooking and quite a bit of shopping.
But, oh, what shopping!
What we have here is a local honey "in the rough," which means filled with bits of honeycomb and pollen and all the stuff I should be eating to toughen my immune system and beat my allergies into submission; a can of Maine mussels, ready for a quick chowder on a weeknight; whole wheat flour from Maine, less a few cups in the lost sourdough starter; and the Maine mix of dried mushrooms from Oyster Creek Mushrooms. I've also got some reeal ground flint corn from Gray's Grist Mill in Rhode Island, but it arrived too late for the group picture. I'm itching to get started with all this good food, but I'm restraining myself, because I'm going to need the backstock in another week.
In the meantime, the farmers' markets are starting to offer some selection. We've already passed the asparagus, amazingly enough. The lettuce is out in full force, and some of the cooking greens are showing up as well. I've had scallions and garlic scapes. Things are looking up.
And of course the strawberries have arrived. So far, I haven't had a really amazing berry. I'm pessimistic about finding anything outstanding in this year's crop. The long rains this spring will give us watery, bland berries; they need the sun to concentrate their sugars. But I keep testing, just in case.