my love affair with food and farms began at the age of 13…
during the summer of my 13th birthday, my uncle hired me to work on his farms and tend to his greenhouses. my first real job! i learned how to properly thump watermelon, press the sweet spot on honeydew, and climb a tall ladder to pick tree ripened peaches. i made my way through endless rows of towering sweet corn, peeling them open and tasting them in the open field. on weekends, i’d help run his open-air farmer’s market, assisting customers with their selections and with running the cash register. some weeks, i’d take care of plants in the greenhouses. i recall the moisture in the air and the fresh scent of soil and foliage as i watered plants and diligently inspected leaves for bugs, as if my life depended on it. not only would he send me home with cash in my pocket, but he’d also hand carry a couple of crates of fresh, flavorful, ripe fruits and vegetables to our front door for my mom.
later that autumn, i experienced what could only be called a heightened sensory experience with food…da vinci may have called it a culinary enlightenment. my mother’s university professor had invited several students and their families to his home for dinner and good conversation. the professor’s wife had set out on the outdoor picnic table an assortment of homemade dishes, including a still-warm quiche. i asked what this dish was, not ever having had or seen quiche. as she explained, she placed a slice of quiche in front of me…and then she did this…she asked me to close my eyes and put a bite of quiche in my mouth. she went on to tell me to keep my eyes closed while tasting the quiche very slowly, deliberately, noticing the texture, the flavors, and the warmth of the quiche in my mouth. from that night on, i have consciously tasted my way through encounters with food. not only did this experience deepen my relationship with food, but also it helped me learn how to be present in the moment – to taste life fully. i still occasionally close my eyes to keep out distractions while i experience the smells, taste, texture, subtleties and complexities of food.
years later, that love affair has evolved into a community-driven marketplace app for foodies, local chefs, and nearby farms…but that’s not all. we’ve got bigger plans…we want to help move the needle away from flown-in, trucked-in, and shipped-in produce to locally-sourced…why? because we believe in fresh, seasonal, flavorful, nutritious fruit and vegetables…and because we care about the future of our planet and are seriously concerned about the detrimental compounded effects of the growing global carbon footprint associated with globalized, commercial food production.
it is with gratitude and a sense of belonging that i welcome u to the bites. community…#ubelong