My good friend Marta recently got back from visiting her family in Poland – where she was born and raised. She came back in a bit of a daze. I would too. The pace of life doesn’t just move slower. It comes to a screeching halt. Especially where she grew up. A town called Jedwabne.
The first day there she texts me a picture of homemade pierogi stuffed with blueberries. The blueberries, she says, are from large forests nearby. But Marta didn't pick them. She bought them from people who were selling them at the side of the road who had picked them. Apparently, fruit picking is all the rage in Poland.
Later, it’s a homemade potato bake (kartoflanka). A super hearty and delicious dish made with bacon from the local butcher, eggs from the neighbor, and potatoes and onions grown in her aunt's backyard.
Then later, homemade plum jam. Jam picked from an ENTIRE WALL of jams in her grandma's basement – along with pickled veggies and homemade meats.
Everything she ate was not only homemade, but also grown in her grandmother’s garden. Or her aunt’s garden next door. There are only two restaurants in town because nobody ever eats out. There’s no such thing as “stocking up” at the grocery store for the week. Whatever they need for dinner that night, or breakfast that morning, they pick it up that day.
Of course, I’m living in a fantasy world if I think that I could have any of those luxuries living in downtown Chicago. Life just moves too fast here. But listening to her stories got me thinking…
About the way I eat (incredibly fast, usually in front of a screen).
The way I cook (rushed, as if it was a chore).
The way I shop (stressed, at the packed parking-garaged city grocery stores).
Which is why this past weekend, I made it a priority to make my first trip to…DaDaDaDAAAAA:
The Farmer's Market!
Specifically, the Green City Farmer's Market in Fulton Market (West Loop whoop whoop).
Smart move on my part (insert back pat here). Because it was exactly what I was looking for. A slow-moving, real-people-engaging, mouth-watering, what-the-heck-is-that? experience. You want to see? Okay! If you insist.
All weekend I've been adding my finds to different dishes – from scrambled eggs made with free range eggs, farmer's onions and lobster mushrooms, to really vibrant and unbelievably fresh salads. And that's exactly where I'll leave you. With this Farmers-Markets-Make-Everything-Taste-Better salad.
Oh! But before I do, I'd like to challenge you – no DARE YOU – to go find a farmer's market in your area before summer is over. PLEASE! Just once. For me? It'll slow you down and make you appreciate your food more than you ever have. You'll get to experience produce that you didn't even know existed. And EVERYTHING tastes better and fresher and juicier, and did I say BETTER?? We can't all experience a little town in Poland like my friend, or have the time for homecooked meals from scratch. But we can get a little closer to our food, slow down and appreciate it all just a little more.
Kale Blueberry Salad Recipe
- Sauteed Cabbage (in coconut oil)
- Cremini Mushrooms
- Shredded Carrots
- Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon of Bee Pollen – I get mine from here (Want a reminder about how awesome Bee Pollen is for your health? Read this post)
Salad Dressing Ingredients:
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Herbs De Provence – I get mine from the Spice House
- Olive Oil
- To saute the cabbage, chop it up into tiny pieces, and saute it in coconut oil for about 10 minutes).
- Chop up all your ingredients.
- Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients.
- Toss together.
- Smile cause you're so happy something that tastes so good is SO good for you.
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