I would like to live outside. To set my bed in the open air. To sleep among the winking stars. To glow in moonlight. To gather ripe berries at dawn, plucking and eating, squishing and devouring until my hands and mouth bleed tie-dye, reds and blues and blacks tattooing my palms like varicose veins, or a toddler's spin-art collage.
Two weeks ago, as part of my attendance at the Sustainable Foods Institute, I returned once again to Carmel Valley, to Earthbound Farm, scene of this post from last year. The team there laid out another spectacular lunch, this time showcasing recipes from owner Myra Goodman's forthcoming book, The Earthbound Cook: Recipes for Delicious Food and a Healthy Planet.
Aside from the endless variety of food, which included, once again, the garbanzo bean salad Clare and I tried to recreate months ago, the gardens preened. Feathery herbs nuzzled tiny daisies, and the sun held court. When Earthbound's Janna Williams, above, spontaneously crafted a bouquet, I felt like I'd been dropped into a glossy fashion shoot. When I garden, I'll have you know, I do not look like Janna. My ripped jeans wear mud make-up, my hair flies in seven directions. I come inside and people run away, screaming in abject terror.
I don't care, though. I'm still trying to grow stuff. I'm currently watching radishes send emissaries up through the soil, and cursing the slugs that taste-test my basil. Each day, four or five times, I run out to see what has grown. Has that tomato-flower just been born? Does the mint stretch taller? Are the beans content?
To see a funny shot I took of some celebrity chefs that day in Carmel, please visit the 5 Second Rule Facebook page here. I stood behind the official portrait photographer and caught a moment of spontaneous mirth. Top Chef and Top Chef Masters fans, look closely.
May your summer gardens feed you well.
And may basil-eating slugs meet their maker.