Salad Day

Edible flowers from City Farm in Providence, RI

Some Saturday mornings we walk to the Hope Street Farmers Market in Lippitt Park.  It’s a longish walk from our house, about a mile, but we enjoy looking at the houses along the way, noting paint colors and landscaping ideas that we might try someday on our own home.  As we near the park we are swept up in a stream of walkers, bicyclists, and families with babies in strollers and dogs on leashes.  Many of the dogs sport colorful bandannas, and most of the adults carry reusable fabric tote bags, as they head purposefully toward the market.

First we pass the artisan booths lining the sidewalk on the street side of the park; I try to resist the attractions of beachy bohemian jewelry, ocean-themed prints, blue and green pottery.  Then we reach the tantalizing display of farmer and food artisan booths.  On the market’s web site I counted 47 food vendors!  Some of the best names: Fully Rooted, Humble Pie, The Local Catch.

Cool names aside, my favorite vendor is City Farm.  Staffed by tanned, busily efficient yet pleasant young men, the City Farm booth overflows with bagged greens of both exotic and familiar varieties, an array of dewy fresh vegetables, and sometimes berries.  A fellow shopper and waiter-in-line told me that she likes to shop there because they are a great organization and she supports their mission.  I researched City Farm later and learned that they are part of the Southside Community Land Trust, a group that helps people grow food and provides the necessary access to land, resources and education.  City Farm grows tons of organic produce in a small urban space in South Providence.  (Yes, literal tons.)  They host gardening workshops for adults and field trips for school groups, and they give away food to local soup kitchens and food pantries.

Last Saturday I noticed a few paper boxes of small flower blooms among the vegetables at City Farm.  As I was paying for my greens, I asked the handsome young farmer, “What would I do with the flowers; put them in a salad?”  He flashed an irresistible grin and said, “You could use them in a salad, or you could garnish things with them, or maybe strew them over your bed.  Anything really!”

I brought the flowers home.  I took a picture of them.  I pondered the possibilities.  That night I strewed them over … our salad.  Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.  After that, make a really good salad!

Walking the Walk

File Jun 05, 7 30 07 PM
Sophie at Mount Hope Community Garden

A big reason for our move to the East Side of Providence is that we want to live in a “walkable” neighborhood.  Jeff and I have talked about how great (and healthy!) it will be to walk to a Wayland Square coffee shop or bakery in the morning, walk to Brown University to hear a lecture, walk to RISD to see an art installation, walk to Hope Street to dine in a trendy restaurant, walk to the Hope Street Farmer’s Market in Lippitt Park on Saturdays and – of course – walk the length of Blackstone Boulevard regularly for exercise.  We are “talking the talk” right now.  Will we really “walk the walk” and hoof it to all of these places?  Or will we actually hop in the car and drive most of the time?

Old habits are hard to break, and our life in the suburbs has accustomed us to driving most places.  Our move is still about one month away, but we traveled to Providence this weekend to help celebrate Jeff’s mother’s 85th birthday.  The weather was balmy, and on Friday evening we walked to Apsara Palace for Pan-Asian cuisine.  On Saturday morning I walked with Sophie to her plot in the Mount Hope community garden (photo above).  I really enjoyed the walk to and from both places, and I gained a new resolve for walking to places AND for finding places to walk to.

To help me achieve my goal of finding good destinations and walking to them, I will have a regular feature on this blog called “I Walked Here”.  It’s easy to find a coffee shop or boutique to walk to; they’re all over the East Side.  But what about a doctor or dentist? a grocery store?  a hairdresser?  Stay tuned as I discover how many products and services I can find within walking distance of my new home.