I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love the UP.
Let me preface this by saying that I don’t think I could ever live for an extended period of time in a place that doesn’t have four seasons. I also really love the fruit and wildlife of the temperate areas, where several weeks out of the year include foraging for fresh berries and eating more than you throw in your bucket for later.
I am blessed to have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) from a local farmer. He has somehow acquired the green thumbs that I obviously do not have. Along with his CSA partners (like me!), he sells his pickins’ to local markets. Marg even had some of his spinach and mixed greens for her wedding dinner. Every week, I get a bag or three of vegetables in my cooler, ready to eat (after I rinse them off in my greens spinner, of course). Last year, the weather was poor for growing and I ate my lifetime supply of spinach (or so I thought at the time). This year, the sun and rain ratio must be superb, because I’ve been eating beans and peas and courgettes to my big heart’s content.
The best thing about eating fresh in a UP fashion is the availability of these great foods. Sure, they are seasonal. Don’t expect to find good quality strawberries at the market in March (because they have to travel how far?!). But during the summer months, you can either pay $5 for a pint of fresh raspberries (handpicked, of course, at the roadside stand), or you can go exploring in the woods and find your own. The blueberry bushes are everywhere, and the thimbleberries are beginning to turn as red as rubies. Buy a jar of thimbleberry jam from a jam pot up here, and you’d second guess their value as jewels themselves.
So when the growing season is here, I dive right in. Sure, I still spend head to the grocery store, but bypass the produce aisles and shoot straight for the frozen meats and gluten free grains. I even get eggs from a local farm for a few bucks a dozen.
Here’s a little taste (from a visual perspective) of the scrumptious UP:
Here’s one of the easiests recipes that I used, inspired by Marg’s bridal gathering at The Tea Room in Houghton:
5 courgettes (small ones)
1 pickling cuke
2 roma tomatoes
1/2 cup Italian dressing (I use Kraft’s Tuscan Italian)
Chop/slice vegetables into 1/4in thick slices. Place into bowl. Toss with dressing. Add 1 can of garbonzo beans if you want! (I hate chick peas, but I strangely love them in this salad!)