I am incredibly spoiled with where I live–a small town in southern N.H., which used to be known primarily as a farming community. It’s long been a place to get gorgeous fresh strawberries, blueberries and corn, along with many other fresh fruits and vegetables and people still continue to come from far and wide to purchase produce. In fact, we still see people coming at the end of the season, stocking up on potatoes, onions and the like for the months ahead, particularly those who believe in buying in bulk and have the means for cold storage over the winter.
When I first moved to this town almost thirty years ago, the abundance of farms was a real selling point for me; that and the lack of traffic lights, chain stores and other commercial businesses. Sure, it would hurt our tax rate in the long run, but it felt like country in a state that was rapidly building. Although the population certainly has grown since then and the farms aren’t quite as abundant, we still have several in place offering fresh fare throughout the spring and summer months (as well as an organic beef farm, which has been an organic farm for as long as I recall). You can see why I feel a bit spoiled, can’t you?
This point was driven home just the other day when one of my sons asked if I could pick up some fresh corn on the cob for a family dinner tonight a few towns over from here. I asked him where he could get corn around his way, because to be quite honest, I haven’t had to give this a thought for the majority of my adult life and he certainly hadn’t for all of his–until now, of course. Truth be told, he really wasn’t sure. Sure, many of the grocery stores in the area have corn from various local farms, but it’s not the same as running down the street to a farm stand, where the corn comes right from the field every day.
I marveled today, as I always do when I pull into one of the farms to pick up corn or salad fixings, or some other fresh produce. The parking lots are jammed-pack and people are loading up on all kinds of fabulous, fresh things. One farm has a variety of animals for everyone to enjoy visiting with, and offers pumpkin rides in the fall and opportunities for picking your own strawberries, pumpkins and more. The other has animals off in the barn, still available to visit, and a multitude of fresh produce, baked goods, farm-fresh milk, and lots and lots of tempting fruit or vegetables to sample.
Today alone, there were baked goods, from a local bakery–strawberry pie and blueberry bread, small portions in little cups just calling out to passersby to enjoy. Then there were cups of fresh local blueberries, topped with fresh, farm-made whipped cream and a tiny spoon. Some days, there’s steamed corn to sample, and there’s always fresh corn in season, with the invitation to shuck right then and there so it’s already for the pot once you get home.
I look around and I see the summer squash and zucchini, the gorgeous raspberries and watermelon, tomatoes and rhubarb, and I think just how spoiled I truly am. In a time where so many people must rely on a grocery store or better yet, don’t even have access to fresh produce of any kind at all, let alone this incredible offering, I have it at my fingertips every day of the summer season, just a short walk or ride away.