I’m a big fan of buying locally. Whether it be clothing, CD’s or food, I do what I can to frequent the “Mom and Pop” shops in my area. I also do what I can to avoid the “Big Box Marts” that seem to be spreading into every town, no matter how big or small, no matter how metropolitan or rural, like a nasty parasitical plaque all over the US. I really do feel that since the people that run these Mom and Pop shops live and breathe in my community, and also give back in so many ways to the community whether economically or otherwise, my patronage is the very least I can do to show my gratitude. But since this isn’t really meant to be an essay on my political viewpoints, I’ll step off my soapbox and get back to what I was going to write about to begin with.

Right now we are at the height of the Summer season here in the North Country. Everyone’s garden is bursting forth with verdure, with much of this vast greenness developing into luscious vegetables and fruits. It’s a veggie lovers dream, to be sure (and since I am a veggie lover, I can say that authoritatively). There is nothing quite like deciding to make oneself a green salad, and then quite serenely rambling out into the garden to pluck up those things which will make that dream of a green salad reality. The taste is heavenly, and you can’t even come close to matching it from the wilted, tasteless rubbish you find in your local grocery store. I really could eat a truly garden fresh salad for each and every meal, every day. But, alas, because of our tardy move into this house (tardy, at least concerning the planting season), we were unable to plant our own garden this year. I could be devastated by this fact, if it weren’t for the hundreds of vegetable stands which dot the roadways of the North Country, not to mention the numerous Farmer’s Markets. These stands are the very ultimate in buying locally…much of what they are selling was harvested that very day, so it is fresher than fresh (if that’s possible). There were no huge tractor trailers needed to bring those cucumbers or summer squash to the roadside stand…only the basket that was used to put each thing in when picked. Like the asparagus I wrote about in the spring, the taste of these fresh veggies is unbeatable, and more often than not, far cheaper than anything you would find at your local grocer. So far this season, we’ve had squash…both yellow and zucchini…, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, peas and other stuff I can’t remember. But the one thing I’ve been waiting for all summer has finally ripened enough for most of the roadside stands to offer…sweet corn. There is absolutely nothing on earth like freshly picked sweet corn. It’s one of those things that I anticipate all year, and joyously buy tons of when it’s finally time. Today was our first sweet corn of the season…it was well worth the wait. When you took that first bite, each kernel would burst into your mouth in an explosion of sweet succulence. Unfortunately it was over too soon, and I had eaten all the corn off my cob. I may have to go back to the stand up the road yet again to buy another 28 ears. I think the guy thought we were insane, buying so many. But, oh…it was so good…I could stand another odd look for another dinner of sheer bliss. The next thing I can’t wait to have are raspberries, but that’s a story for another day, I’m afraid.

So there you have it. My favourite first of the summer. I urge all of you to get out there, find a local roadside stand, and buy a few ears for yourself. While you’re at it, buy some cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and beans. You won’t be sorry. And think of how good you’ll feel for helping to support a local grower. Your taste buds, as well as your local economy, will thank you!