Prosperity

February 11, 2010 at 11:35 pm 1 comment

Here’s another gem from Cameron, excerpted from the Saxapahaw General Store blog:

“Jeff will object to my regionalist comment here, but he is from Michigan, a land that is bereft of the Southern culinary ritual of eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day….

Perhaps it was the flavor–or maybe it was the desperation of Southerners looking for good luck for the new year–but we finally made Jeff a believer in this dish, when we ran out of collards midday on New Year’s Day…. I set out for Carrboro, hoping I’d find a supply of the stuff in one of the markets.

Halfway up the road, at Stuydivant’s Auto on NC-54, I noticed a marquis that read “collards.” I pulled onto the gravel drive, hoping to find someone to make good on that promise. Round back of the barns there to the side of the auto shop, just next to a couple of nice fields, I imposed upon three gentlemen chopping firewood to find out where the collards were.

“How many d’ya want?” one man asked, stepping away from his work to help me. .. I turned around to see that behind me were growing several rows of giant collard plants, bursting forth from their mounds like green sunbursts. … I asked for ten plants, please. He picked up a machete sitting on one of the rows and began harvesting my purchase. It was only after I had to fold down the seats in my station wagon that I realized how large the plants were… I drove away barely able to see past the leaves, my car stuffed with the elephantine bouquets.

I arrived back at the store and paraded about with one of the plants, delighting in the others’ amazement at the bounty with which I had returned. Dion… immediately set to work breaking down the plants into manangeable bits for cooking, and then he braised the greens for serving that night at supper. We served enough that day and the following days that if greens really do turn to money, Saxapahaw’s residents can expect a real boon in 2010.

From my New Year’s Day adventure, I took two concepts I’ll carry with me through this year. First, the ritual of food contributes much to the identity of a place in an ever-renewing way. The place carries the traditions, inviting us to join in whether we were born in one location or elsewhere. Second, prosperity visits a community when its members rely on their neighbors for their provisions. That those collards were alive in a field minutes from our store, and that they were sold to me by the hand that raised them, made me truly prosperous to receive them. .. I am grateful for these rituals and for these neighbors.”

And we’re grateful for you, Jeff, Dion and the nourishment you serve up at the Saxy General.

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Entry filed under: Commentary, Sustainable Food. Tags: , .

‘I Love u Lunch’ with local food in Pittsboro Feb. 14 A case of cabbage

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. jeff barney  |  February 16, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Thanks for posting this Dee. I can feel the increase within this covalent community.

    Reply

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