"Six Weeks Of Want" back in the 19th century. As part of this, I am cooking foods that would have been eaten at this time of year, when food was really still very scarce.
Rhubarb is the very first vegetable that would have been avaliable at this time of year around here and is growing in many gardens. I have 2 of my own plants but they are small and did not yield much this year. So when I stopped at Wegmans today I asked for Rhubarb.
They. Did. Not. Have. It.
Seriously, there are grapes from Chile and all sorts of stuff from Mexico, but no Rhubarb from down the street. (Small aside,Wegman's does do a bang up job with local produce in the summer.)
I guess people aren't using Rhubarb much which is a shame. And I'll admit I've never cooked with it either. I've been looking forward to it since I planted it last year though. But it's a shame that a food that we once thought of as a staple, and even a treat, because Rhubarb can't really be eaten without sugar, something that we looked forward to, has been relegated to an old fashioned obscure vegetable. And what about this whole eating local movement-Here is a pretty prolific, indestructible, perennial plant that produces earlier than any other and we ignore it. I think it's kind of sad.
We (me and my dad, see post below) stopped at a local place, Apple Annie's because I thought they might have some. The owner, introduced me to his son who was my age (not for like a date or anything....) by telling me his son was a 4th generation farmer. (Come to think of it, perhaps he was trying to get his son a date, I probably look like a woman who would be impressed by this.) Anyway, he didn't have any cut yet so he went out back, and chopped a HUGE amount of Rhubarb for me. And charged me $2 for all of it. When I protested he asked if I had been there before (which I have) and would I be back (I will) and he went on to tell me that he likes to treat his customers like family. (hmm...This is getting more and more fishy the more I think of it-Perhaps he wanted me to join HIS family.....) He even sold me 2 more Rhubarb plants. He took a long time to cut the Rhubarb (Probably to give his son time to ask me out, which he did not do) but I did have a very nice chat with him about the 400 tomato seedlings he is growing. The whole time my dad was waiting in the car for me. I felt like I was 14 years old.... With my dad there, and the farmer's son awkwardly hitting on me..... (kidding...)
All kidding aside, it was a really nice visit. The farmers were really friendly. And generous with the Rhubarb and I will be going back. I'm glad Wegmans didn't have it because it really was worth a side trip.
I love stuff like huge bunches of Rhubarb and Friendly Farmers....
I'll post some links to my other blog when I actually create something out of this bounty!