The green grocer


(6/21/2017)

Whole foods right here

by MELISSA GORDON 

 

Last week the news broke that Amazon bought Whole Foods. Since then analysts all over the Internet have been speculating on how this will affect the way we buy food, and many are forecasting a gloomy future for grocery stores and supermarkets.

As someone who works at a grocery store, this news is of particular professional interest. But as someone who has a familial responsibility to feed others and a human responsibility to care for our environment (and as someone who has probably read one too many dystopian novels), I am deeply troubled.   

If we continue to move further away from cooking our own meals (a move this acquisition is certain to propel), we will undoubtedly lose something essential to our being. And if we continue to move further away from the source of our food (a move this acquisition cannot help but expedite), we will deepen the ignorance that is at the root of all sorts of dangerous cultural illusions, illusions such as the notion that food is cheap, that our food choices are somehow separate from our environmental impact, and, most alarming, that food will always be here, just one click of a mouse away.

At a time like this I wish I could write with the eloquence of Wendell Berry or capture readers’ attention with the skillfulness of Michael Pollan or possess the celebrity of Alice Waters. Maybe then my writing could open minds and persuade positive change. But then I realize that what’s even more powerful than another voice writing about food is another eater choosing local, sustainable foods.

Please be that eater. You can start by coming to the Farmers Market this Saturday. It’s Strawberry Shortcake Day, a Farmers Market fundraiser (could there be an easier way to support our local farmers than to eat strawberry shortcake?) and the co-op will be there demonstrating chopping skills, proper knife sharpening, easy pickling, and kraut making. And when you can’t make it to the market, come by the co-op to get many of the same great local products and support our farmers!

 

Strawberry shortcake, Hooray!

After eating strawberry shortcake made from fresh, local strawberries at the market, you will definitely want to make some at home. Here’s a great recipe:

 

2 pints local, 

organic 

strawberries, 

sliced* 

1/4 cup sugar, 

or more to taste

4 cups flour

2 tablespoons 

sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 teaspoons 

baking powder

1 1/4 cups butter

3 cups local, 

organic 

whipping cream, 

divided*

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

*I don’t typically explicitly call for local or organic ingredients, but in this case they’re a necessity. Anything else just won’t yield the same taste. 

 

1. Mix the berries with 1/4 cup of sugar. Set aside, stirring often, for about 20 minutes. (You can also use a fork to gently crush some of the berries to release their juices.)

 

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

 

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, two tablespoons sugar, salt, and baking powder. Using a fork or a pastry blender, cut in 3/4 cup of softened butter. Add 1 1/4 cups cream, and mix until you have a soft dough. Knead the dough for one minute on a lightly floured surface, then roll it out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Using a three-inch biscuit cutter (or if you’re like me, use any sort of equivalent you can find in the house) cut an even number of rounds (two rounds equals one serving).

 

4. Place the rounds on a buttered baking sheet. Melt remaining 1/2 cup butter and brush a little on the rounds. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

5. Beat remaining cream until it thickens. Add vanilla. Beat again just until thick.

 

6. Place a bottom half of a shortcake on each plate. Top with a generous spoonful of berries. Cover with a top half, add a few more berries, and top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Nancy Harmon Jenkins’ strawberry shortcake recipe published in the New York Times.

 

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