Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Look at all that fruit! We had 4 pounds of cherries, several pounds of pluots, peaches, and nectarines. Given that I live with two fruit bats, this bag was PERFECT. We eat the entire contents in about a week.
The second week of the fast we were going to the Methow Valley with friends. I had missed the farmer's market the week prior because of Transfiguration, so I had to make due with other farmer's markets that were not as good. Then I just got frustrated not being able to use the ingredients I wanted to use. So, I hiked down to Pike Place Market, with Nina strapped on, to find produce that was coming from local farmers as well as local vendors. I found some good looking citrus and an organic watermelon that looked small but felt so heavy by the time I got back up the hill. I had bruises on my shoulders from hoisting child and produce and was thankful this was not a permanent lifestyle choice.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
“To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” --Ecclesiastes 3:1
Lance (Gregory), my husband, really likes chips and cereal. I, on the other hand, adore bread. My late grandfather and my father cultivated my love of it by introducing me to the joys of freshly baked pan dulces (sweet bread) with a steaming cup of coffee in the morning. Whenever a major fast comes along, the church does not, thankfully, prescribe us to fast from cereal, chips, and bread. In the past, I have made a point during a fast to avoid all processed food save those three items. However, with the birth of our child, I found it increasingly difficult to get meals on the table much less made-from-scratch meals. While I use the weekends to prep meals for the week, I also find inspiration from Holy Tradition as a way to go beyond the ubiquitous tofu and hummus so prevalent in our fasting diet.
At the Feast of Transfiguration, which always falls on August 6th during the Dormintion Fast, the Church blesses fruit for eating. “Grapes, in general, fruit from orchards such as apples, pears, and plums,” are blessed “in order to ask the Lord’s blessing on the fruits of the harvest.” (From The Law of God complied by Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy -- my go-to book for all Festal information) I am not sure if this tradition is a “big T” Tradition or a “little t” tradition. Regardless, it is a beautiful one. The fruit blessing tradition may come from the Hebrew calendar where the tending of vines and harvesting of grapes takes place Tammuz through Elul (June through September). The summer months are generally harvest time – after all, summer break is a tradition held over from a time when children needed to be back on the farm to help with the harvest. St. Katherine’s has often gone to local farms to pick blueberries for the blessing fruit on Transfiguration. For the occasion, I fill a large basket with blueberries, peaches, jalapenos, and other fruits, just like at Pascha.
The Transfiguration fruit blessing is bittersweet to me. I love it because such a wonderful and simple gift such as fruit is blessed. On the other hand, the blessing of fruit is disheartening to me because reminds me that our culture has removed itself from the farm tradition. The produce in the grocery stores is sparkling clean and waxed, which is not how they look when callused hands have harvested them from the earth. I have shopped at farmer’s markets and stands, but the ease and convenience of the Trader Joe’s plastic wrapped zucchini (in December!) is more often how I buy produce. I want my daughter to understand the labor and cultivation that goes into producing the food she eats. Ideally, she would know who grew her food and (perhaps) would not reject the spinach I have served because she knew the farmer who grew it.
In consequence, I have given my family a challenge for the Dormition Fast – we will buy all of our produce from local farmers. Whether it is at the Farmer’s Market or a farm stand, we will eat from the harvest of our native soil. It will require much patience on my part, as I tend to plan and not improvise. Still, it would be worth a little stretch of my own will and patience to not only support local farms but to also recognize what a glorious bounty of fruits, berries, and produce we have in the Pacific Northwest. May the fast provide us with an opportunity to till the small field in our hearts that we have dedicated to God – with much prayer may that field expand and the harvest of love be plentiful.
In August of 2009 I wrote this blog post “I Don’t Want to Forget This…” because I obviously wanted to remember it.
Transfiguration Peach Salsa (This is what the hubbster called it)
1 yellow peach (diced)
1 different peach (diced)
1 necturine (diced)
(I like the variety of stone fruits for the color)
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion (walla walla is delicious)
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
juice of two limes
2 jalapenos seeded, ribs cut off, and diced
salt (1/4 tsp or to taste)
Stir this all up in a bowl and then chill in the fridge for about half an hour. Really tasty on fish tacos!