Fennel comes from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Like so many spices and seeds it rode forth on camelback down the old Silk Road, sold by sun-burnt merchants who claimed to wrangle the potent seeds from beneath the winking eyes of dragons or from bamboozled trolls. It hit the spice scene like a bomb, loved by the Greeks, spread all throughout Europe by the Imperial Roman army and then onward into India and the Orient, Australia, South America, and finally, here in the US.
Fennel came to me in a salad (because I ordered it, at a restaurant, in California) and I thought it tasted pretty good, a little sweet, good crunch. We eat the white bulb, usually pan-seared with olive oil and some salt, maybe a hit of pepper.
We do not really mess with the seeds and flowers, which are, of course, the stuff of legends, seemingly used to cure everything throughout history: blindness, lactation problems, skin diseases, stomach problems, snake bites, poverty, and in some cases – death itself (whether that one worked or not is lost to the annals of history, but I’m pulling for YES).
So this share has some fennel you can munch on, fresh from the Mediterranean of our small farm. This share also has Tomatoes, which are no less intrepid in their conquest of the entire planet.
Tomatoes come from the Andes mountains, which is to say they come from one of the most starkly beautiful regions of South America – massive green mountains, heat, rain, clouds, and hillside farms running the length of the continent. Originally they weren’t eaten, they just grew wild and perennial – it wasn’t until Cortes felled the Aztec Empire and brought the plant north to Mexico on the backs of the Spanish conquest that people started saucing and stewing them.
Now tomatoes are grown everywhere. They grow tomatoes in the scorching Israeli deserts beneath miles and miles of highly sophisticated and temperature controlled glass houses. They grow tomatoes in Antarctica. They grow hydroponic tomatoes plants here in Maine that reach 50 ft in length. NASA even has a program to try and grow tomatoes in space – no plant is more doted upon, hybridized, and tinkered with than the tomato.
The other vegetables have their stories too, but those will have to wait. For now I think its best we just be thankful for the crazy journey that has lead us to today, where we can travel out beyond the breakers of the Mediterranean and hike through the thick jungles of Andes, slashing a path through the history of our civilization in just a few bites.
Enjoy, this week the share includes-
-cherry and Tom mix
-zuke and summer squash
– eggplant or tomatillos( dependent on pick up spot)