Saturday, March 24, 2012

Local food before it was cool

Doug Carrigan, with local asparagus
I was delighted this morning to find Doug Carrigan at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market standing in front of buncles of his freshly cut asparagus. It's almost two weeks before you'd usually find asparagus at the market, but thanks to the eerily warm spring, there it was.

At his Carrigan Farms, Doug Carrigan has been growing asparagus and pick-your-own strawberries outside of Mooresville ("Intersection of 150 & 152" says his business card) for several decades. "I was local food before local food was cool," he quipped this morning.

Now that local foods are thoroughly cool – or really hot, choose your cliche – I asked him what changes he's seen in the 30 years he's been farming. I expected him to say something about people being more interested in a broader range of vegetables, heirloom varieties, more local outlets to sell his bounty, etc. etc. No.

Used to be, he said, people would come out and pick quarts and gallons of strawberries, take them home and put them up: preserve or freeze them. Nowadays, he said, people just buy a few. "They don't even know how to make a pie," he said. If he could sell them by the slice, they'd buy that, he said.

I bought strawberries at the market, too – the first picking. No pies though. I am eating them right from the container.


Judy Goldman said...

Mouth-watering blog! Thanks for the tip.

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