La Mangiatrice took a hiatus from blogging this summer, not for want of food-related happenings to write about. For me, it was a summer of fancy hot dogs, too many zucchini from the CSA, ice cream cones, Victory Summer Love Ales, and Caprese salads. Here’s a little wrap-up of the two best food-related things I did this summer:
Brasen Hill Farm Pig Roast Celebration:
My buddies Ellie and Theo over at Brasen Hill Farm, which I wrote about here earlier this year, threw a big bash in August to celebrate their first season of farming. The centerpiece? The roasting of one of the pigs they raised. My fellow Philadelphians and I arrived at the farm a day before the fete, just in time to see the pig being lowered into the roasting box, a sight I cannot unsee (and an important one at that). Sarah and I made two barbecue sauces: a spicy bourbon-molasses based sticky slurry (by far the favorite) and a vinegar-and-butter concoction for moister ‘cue. Jamie-Lee courageously sliced dozens of onions, which we charred on the grill along with zucchini (always zucchini!) and ears of corn from one of Ellie’s farmer buds. A Caprese salad (!) was thrown together with plump tomatoes from another farmer friend, and there was jalapeno corn bread to soak everything up with. We rounded out the night with a bonfire and s’mores. Thanks to Ellie and Theo for such a great weekend, for the turkeys for following me around as though I were the pied piper, to the goats for being inquisitive and sweet, and for the barn kittens for being cuddly. (My friend Arielle, who is a far better photographer than I, has more idyllic farm photos here–check ’em out!).
Fresh For All with Philabundance:
fresh produce at the university city fresh for all
This summer I started volunteering for Philabundance, which is the Delaware Valley region’s largest hunger relief organization. Philabundance is an amazing nonprofit organization, a well-oiled machine that manages to sponsor a broad range of projects that help feed low-income families. Fresh For All meets an important need in communities around the Delaware Valley—it provides them with fresh produce, an unfortunately expensive dietary staple. (In the American supermarket, a pound of produce can cost more than a pound of meat; this is, I think, one of the core issues of our nation’s food system, and it deserves more exploration than I can give it here. Another time!). Fresh For All operates weekly in twelve sites, always at the same day and time per site, so that neighbors can depend on a produce pick-up once a week. I help out at the University City site, at 49th and Spruce Streets, which is a mere nine blocks away from the western-most edge of the University of Pennsylvania’s campus. Each week, we give away six or seven different types of produce, along with fresh bread, all of which has been donated from different groceries. Last week, we gave out yams, red potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, apples, oranges, and bread. I intend to keep volunteering at Fresh For All up until I leave for UNiSG. It is always refreshing to work with my fellow volunteers (all of whom are members of the community they serve), dole out advice about cooking and nutrition along with vegetables, and remember the needs of Penn’s neighbors.