victorious community gardens
It’s been a week, and I’ve missed writing here, so this is a longer post below. I hope that all of you are having wonderful days—
Last Wednesday, my friend Dianna showed me the community garden in South Beach. With retro signs (community gardens are quietly beginning to be called Victory Gardens again across the United States) and a convenient location in the South of Fifth section, the garden boasts a waiting list years long and acts as a quiet hub for energetic locals.
An ideal way to find people who share your concern for thoughtful food,
in a way that Dianna’s Mr. Cecil approves.
Thursday night I flew toward another community garden in Portland, Oregon.
After Friday morning pastries from Boulangerie in the Northwest section (skip the croissants and tend toward the more complicated offerings), I unwrapped a pork belly banh mi off the Bunk Sandwiches board—
with perfectly toasted bread, melting pork belly, the right sort of red sauce, cilantro, and julienned carrots, perhaps the best sandwich of my life.
And so I fell silent for part of the Friday drive with my beautiful sister Kat to the Erath and Ponzi vineyards near to Portland,
where even Erath’s Pinot flight (the Reserve Pinot Gris that is only sold at the winery is lovely) was no match for Kat’s homemade cherry kombucha, and we headed out the next morning for other healthful local food at the Portland Farmers’ Market with Reid and their friend Nathania,
to marvel at incredible morels,
unusual snow morels (that almost look sculpted),
music all around,
prepared market food like asparagus pesto and bacon on a bagel, and breakfast burritos wrapped in fresh, thin tortillas.
Full of families visiting, eating, laughing, the Pickelopolis stand awed younger market shoppers,
baskets of rhubarb waited to be stewed, roasted, and baked into crumbles and pies, jams,
and Ranoculus and purple flowers carried the day.
Close to purple flowers, bundles of purple asparagus waited,
though we opted for local fried asparagus from Burgerville, the In-n-Out chain of the Pacific Northwest, (pick off the batter and dip the spears in the included aioli,)
and crossing the St. John bridge, we picked lettuces and onions from Kat and Reid’s plot in the community garden (I resisted picking dandelions).
The two explain what they’ve planted:
and we peered closer at the potato plants,
peas on a trellis Reid has devised,
soft lettuces glowing in the sun that hits parts of their plot,
and then Reid appreciated the smell of the freshly-dug onions in the backseat all the way to the Oregon coast, where even toddlers skate,
and the trees stand tall,
covered with moss,
and we waded over to the side where smaller waves washed into the shore,
and held forth with a picnic of crusty market bread, herbed chevre, wine, olives, and strawberries,
before returning to Kat and Reid’s apartment in Portland to simmer those morels in cream, sauté fiddlehead ferns and nettles with their onions, and roast parsnips, delighting in the way foods from this moment in the season play off each other.
Sunday, I visited Kat working at Cacao (where she introduced me to a fabulous new chocolate bar that tastes of blood oranges) and sipped drinking chocolate,
and after she closed the shop, we shared a spicy avocado sandwich with bread that did taste alive along with a bowl of beans, quinoa, and kale at Blossoming Lotus.
As yoga practitioners emerged from class in the adjoining studio, we joined them in breathing deeply as sisters and even closer friends…