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Friday, July 8, 2011

Return of the Native/ East Coast Farmer's Markets & Other excitements

                             Drought proof aloes (Chihuly -MFA,Boston)
Farmer's Market, Falmouth, Cape Cod
Been wandering in the flesh-pots of Cape Cod and Long Island, with a side trip to Boston and the MFA there. Chihuly, the extraordinary glassmaker was having a major exhibit. Check it out at As you can see he has completely solved the water problem. Cape Cod is basically one big fish-hook shaped sandspit. God knows how the Pilgrim Fathers managed to grow anything at all. The Farmer's Markets on the Cape have beautiful lettuce, kale ( learned how to cook), herbs, peonies, rhubarb and lots of stuff for tourists to buy- lobster buoys,straw hats,fish prints (some very good) and lighthouses for your refridgerator.
 The North Shore of Long Island, on the other hand, is still farm country once you move away from the coast ( wall to wall summer houses, mostly very opulent-think Malibu on steroids --- but you already knew that.) There are vineyards looking very prosperous, fields of potatoes and other edibles.
                                               Montauk geese
                              Roadside stand, Long Island near Perponix

Small fishing is still viable --clams, mussels and lobster as well as lots of fish-haik, sea bass, flounder.

Potato field
 Both Cape Cod and Long Island are filled with very small towns such as we only encounter on the Disney Channel. Everyone really does know everyone else, and whether X actually managed to make it home last night, and if not, where was X and with whom?

 There's a deep patriotism and pride in the local people serving in Iraq and Afghanistan--- and an intense communal grief if one is lost --- the whole town turns out for the funeral, a street is named for the soldier.
The past is present in a way that it simply isn't in the West. So many of the towns are lifted straight from the English coast, Falmouth, Truro, Yarmouth, and Wellfleet. New England, indeed.

Urbane farmers and backyard gardeners along the Central Coast now dealing with climate changes---both hotter and colder--- can take heart. We can still grow almost anything here. It just may take more attention and ingenuity than we are used to expending. If the Pilgrims could learn to farm on Cape Cod, we can adjust to the climate changes. The longer colder weather gives us a chance to grow more stone fruits, berries and lilies. The cooler spring with more rain encourages us to grow more leafy vegetables for a longer season. It pays to be horticulurally adventurous. 

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