I had often shopped at farmers’ markets before one came to our hospital in 2003, but I was never as aware of the rhythm of week-to-week changes in the availability of fresh food. Getting to know the farmers who grow my food has been a privilege.
What I can touch, smell, and taste at the market is the end result of a lot of work that is far different than what I know at the hospital.
Dr. Ted Tsukayama, an internist and expert in pharmacy and therapeutics, gave me the gift of a wonderful book by David Mas Masumoto called “Epitaph for a Peach.” The author is a farmer in California’s Central Valley who went away to college but was drawn back to farming. The book describes his yearlong attempt to keep his sweet and juicy Sun Crest peaches alive and to begin the conversion to organic farming.
A quote: ”I remember a Japanese saying about the power of bamboo. Its strength is not found in a rigid structure that blocks the wind; instead, the stalks bend with the wind. Their power resides in their very flexibility. I’m working on becoming like bamboo. I’ve abandoned my attempts to control and compete with nature, but letting go has been a challenge.”
After reading this book, I look at our market’s weekly offerings with even more gratitude. After three weeks of jalapeños, it’s time for a change of pace. Pick up a Napa cabbage, some scallions, and red bell pepper at your market as the foundation for an easy stir fry that takes 30 minutes or less.
Consider adding a wok to your kitchen if you don’t cook with one already. It can be heated very hotly and works well for this kind of cooking.