We always talk about the excitement of new beginnings in spring, but the real bounty happens in summer. Summer is when the chickens come home to roost and when those verdant young seedlings of spring that we marveled at bear fruit. Berries, greens, veggies – they are gifts from the Earth and wonderful, miraculous surprises all.
At Outpost, our bounty has grown by one store, and by the time this issue of GRAZE is out, the newest Outpost Natural Foods store, on the corner of Mequon and Wauwatosa roads in Mequon, will have been open for a month and a half. By July, the new store and staff ought to have begun settling into a rhythm.
At Outpost, there is a daily rhythm: first the early commuters, ducking in for a coffee or juice for the road and perhaps something for lunch; then the parents, fresh from dropping kids at school and looking for dinner ideas and perhaps joining friends for a cup of tea in the café; followed by the lunch crowd and then the afternoon commuters, picking up a rotisserie chicken or some other quick and healthy dinner ideas from the grab and go cases; and so on.
Of course, we follow longer rhythms at a natural foods cooperative – the beat of the earth itself, the pace of the seasons. And summer means a steady stream of deliveries from local farmers, their foods still warm from the sun and filling shelves and crates in the produce department.
Writing this in April, it's impossible to predict what the summer will bring. The frost line was deep this winter and a cool spring slowed access to farm fields. There is still time for frost or snow to damage buds, or for heavy rains in May to leave farmers idle. Our shoppers are learning that trying to forge a stronger local food network means running the risk that favorite locally grown foods may be late or entirely unavailable. And we're all learning more of the incredible uncertainty small farmers face each year.
But when the food comes, when our shelves overflow with the very freshest tastes of summer, we're so grateful they challenge those odds. Thank you, family farmers.
In this issue:
Picnic in the Park
The World Cup inspires twists on our summertime favorites
Quince & Apple
Q & A with this preservation specialist
Fondy Farm Project
Giving local farmers access to land and markets
The heart of Riverwest beats in Cafe Corazon
Can Do Condiments
Get saucy at your next picnic with these do-it-yourself recipes
Homegrown Energy Alternatives
Investing in local renewable energy helps create a sustainable future