When I first moved to coastal North Carolina, my garden yielded miniature sweet potatoes, a handful of blueberries, and an abundance of mustard greens. That’s it. After trying pretty much every vegetable under the sun. Turns out, not many plants like to grow in our soil… wait, I mean sand.
Coastal gardening and farming presents some unique challenges that I thought would mean the end of my quest to become a locavore. But after a year of learning and connecting with our local farms, which aren’t necessarily the type to market to the local buyer, I have resumed my quest. And I think I’ve succeeded, at least for today.
My dinner included only a few things not from the coast: champagne vinegar, olive oil, gin, and avocado.
The rest of the menu:
Spring Salad: lettuce, cucumber, radishes, avocado, strawberries, asparagus, and pecans with a salad made from strawberries, champagne vinegar and olive oil
Roasted Roots: parsnips, carrots, spring onions, blue potatoes
Strawberry Martini: gin, strawberries, basil
The evening was inspired by strawberry picking earlier today, when I stopped a farmstand on the way to a work meeting in a nearby town. They had no strawberries at the stand but handed me a bucket and told me to have fun. So dressed in my business clothes, I found myself in a farm field perfecting my strawberry picking technique – finding that perfect ‘snap’ as the berry separates from the stem.
The onions and radishes came from the garden. They, like most of the rest of my garden products, were baby-sized, but delicious.
The other veggies came from the freshly opened Friendly Market and the farmstand that I stopped at. But really the dinner was mostly by accident and formed from a love of local foods and access to farmers. One benefit of livingin a coastal area is that it is also rural and people still are connected to land and sea for food.
I throw the challenge out to all you readers to have a local meal, no matter what the problems with your local soil. It can be done. And baby vegetables are delicious.
~ Bluegrass Blue Crab