So, the kickoff of my Grow, Cook, Eat tour involved beer, bluegrass, pork, hugs and a farmer's market. All in one place. I love you Athens.
The most recent development in local food markets in Athens is in the parking lot and terrace of a great bar in downtown Athens. I imagine that the impulse buying at the market goes up a bit when a person can shop with a frothy beverage in one hand. A true innovation in marketing, I must say. Regan, my awesome, cheese-making and raw-milk banditing best girlfriend who co-facilitated my recovery from too many nights of popcorn and beer, made grass-fed pork and beet green epanadas to share with the folks who gathered over the course of the evening to wish me well on my travels. I really can't imagine a better send off, and I feel really really blessed.
We then went to Farm 255, a restaurant with it's own Full Moon Farm (www.farm255.com) and indulged in the "butcher board"--a charcouterie consisting mostly of variations on enhanced pork (confit of pork belly...oh my). In other news, I ate bacon from BPH farm twice today. I had bacon and eggs for breakfast to recover from the indulgences of last night, and I made a mad BLT for lunch (I substituted goat fromage blanc for mayo, and arugula for lettuce...) I made a sausage (Greendale Farm), potato (McMullan Farm) and broccoli green (TaylOrganic) saute for supper. Given that neither Hindus nor Muslims eat a whole lotta pork, and India is consequently a relatively pork free country, I am getting my fill. Now.
I also had a finger of Auchentoshen scotch neat for and with dessert last night. (It's all gin and tonic from here on out...) Dessert was a blueberry torte and peach galette, both of which are actually in season right now. (This just proves that there is a goddess and she wants me to be happy.) There was also this white chocolate thing that somehow appeared on the table, and which was actually orgasmic but really not local at all... Life is very very good.
Tonight, I went out to Don Young's patch of ground and worked in the herb garden a bit, drank beer in the shadow of a thunderstorm and talked about the aliveness of things, and how food shouldn't be for sale. The silver of a moon rose in front of thunderheads that promised a lot of rain for our figs and blueberries and tomatoes and rosemary and a fresh, clean day tomorrow. I drove home with all the windows open to the sultry air and I realized how much I'm gonna miss this place and the people here, and how deeply I have fallen in love with Georgia... I am absolutely bewitched by this place, and thank the universe for landing me here. Tonight ima gonna sleep in my screened porch and listen to the rain fall all night long.
As for growing--you gotta tell me what ISN'T growing in Georgia these days. Hells of sun and rain have my tomatoes toppling their cages and my cucumbers racing across the yard. But the growing part in grow, cook and eat isn't just about food...I aim to grow myself on this trip. Goddess grant me the grace to do it. I realize the parallel (and I am a fan) to Elizabeth Gilberts', Eat, Pray, Love. I'm not gonna get Julia Roberts to play me, and that's alright. Ima gonna learn about how food is freedom, and ima gonna bring it all home to the people and the place I love. That's enough for me.
So in between my bacon centered meals today, Don and I picked up a gas stove and a fridge for the CounterSpace kitchen--a community space shared by Don, Evan McGown, myself and many many others which promises to be a radical space of community, life and love. This is one thing, among many, that wrenches me to leave (this also includes a certain yellow hound dog and a big red horse and a lot of really sweet people who are too good to me). But, like all things, this place, that space, these people and this life will be here when I get back.
Holla. I'll be back in two months. Then you send me off agin, alright?