Every year as the weather cools and the seasons transition to winter, I find myself feeling mixed emotions of sadness for the vibrancy of spring and summer combined with relief for shorter days, soups and stews and a reduced list of tasks required to complete in the garden. This year has been extra special one as this winter I have experienced a true hibernation
With the arrival of my first child expected in early December, my new purpose became tending to the life growing inside of me, so I had to let go of everything else.
I eventually became too pregnant to cook and unable to bend over and see my toes which eventually meant I couldn’t maintain my garden. Maternity leave began at work bringing with it the reality of life without a formal job for a while.
For the next several months my one and only purpose for this moment in time was to tend to the life growing inside of me, so I had to let go of everything else. I let go of my busy 9-5 schedule, I left our beautiful garden un-watered and unattended, painfully watching the crabgrass and dandelion overtake much of the well maintained beds. I left the kitchen alone and let take out meals become the new normal for a moment in time.
During this transitional period between the late stages of pregnancy, and now the sleepless nights and constant nursing my new baby, I have needed to maximize every last bit of energy available to me. I truly feel like a mama bear using this winter weather as a respite. We are conserving energy, food, and strength in order to be ready for a vibrant spring and summer as our newborn grows and is ready to explore the world.
Our family has humbly accepted help from so many friends and family who have offered to shop, cook us meals and help us clean and keep up our house. Because we could rely on this great community, when the baby arrived all we were able to focus all of our energy on our new family and finding a new sense of balance and growth within our home and relationships. Throughout it all, I have been constantly surprised and overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for how much abundance we have found during this physical time of scarcity. It truly takes a village to raise a child.
This past week, I have finally found the strength to break out of my hibernation – our family was finally ready to start venturing out again into the world and that means heading to our local farmer’s market – AKA my happy place!
Where: Torrance Certified Farmer’s Market – Saturday January 6, 2018
Whats in season: root vegetables, pomegranates and persimmons, winter squash, citrus and avocados, mushrooms
What stood out today:
Wild Mushrooms at LAFungHi – http://www.lafunghi.com/ – This incredible vendor offers the “wildest selection of mushrooms in Southern California” and they do not lie. What an incredible array of options that I have never tasted and can’t wait to test out in my home kitchen. Many of the selections are harvested from the wild, foraged throughout the Northern West Coast and others are grown here in L.A.
Tahitian Squash at Fallbrook – This very special variety of winter squash has the flavor and aroma similar to butternut squash crossed with a cantaloupe melon. They can weigh up to 40 pounds and can be enjoyed raw, like a melon or cooked like traditional winter squash. Last year I had on that lasted us two months. The way it works is you cut off the portion you plan to use, starting from the root end of the squash. The place where you make the cut will scab over and the next time you are ready to use the squash, you simply cut off the scab and discard and cut off the next batch for use. You can do this and store the rest of the squash in a cool dry place until you get down to the portion that contains the seeds, then finish it up. Truly this is a remarkable vegetable and can be used in any recipe you would use other winter squash.