The Difference One Summer Can Make

Thanks to my summer spent working at Nourse Farm I'm a bit disappointed by the approach of Labor Day weekend.  This date signifies my transition from the comfort of a kitchen to the confinement of a microwave, as my only means to cook meals. Starting in September, I move back to school at Boston University for my sophomore year where I'm working towards a double major in Advertising and Psychology.  I'm beyond excited to move back to the city, to take new classes, and to reconnect with friends I haven't seen since the first week of May; but, the thought of relying on a dining hall meal plan and the snacks I keep in my dorm is totally unappealing.

My disappointment stems from the overall shift I have experienced about the way I view food. Working with such flavorful and fresh produce opened my eyes to become more cognizant of the food I was putting into my body. At this point, I no longer seek out or even crave most heavily processed foods. I wouldn't say I was overly unhealthy before, but now I am noticeably making conscious decisions to purchase, prepare and consume local, wholefoods.

If you asked my mom about this shift she would probably joke that I've become a bit of a food snob.  When it comes to the food we eat and where it comes from, I will admit to chastising her for buying peaches from the supermarket when I can easily buy some from the farm. Yet simultaneously, she would rave about my willingness to cook and do the weekly grocery shopping. Even on nights after a long shift of making salsa or scooping ice cream, I love the prospect of going home and experimenting with a new recipe featuring fresh produce from the farm.  

Even on vacation this summer, I kept this new outlook on my mind. While away in Quebec I purchased a souvenir "Made in Quebec: A Culinary Journey," a cookbook, which focuses on farm-to-table recipes revolving around the available seasonal produce.  Luckily, due to the regional similarities of Quebec and New England, the seasonal produce is similar.  Since my return to MA, I have already wowed my family with a number of recipes from the book.

I am interacting with fresh foods in a much greater way than I ever have before and working at the farm is what helped me broaden my perspective when it comes to food. I am grateful for that. One testament to this change is that before this summer I had never eaten a radish and now they are one of my favorite foods as I put them in salads or on top of avocado toast as it adds flavor and aesthetic appeal. Food can truly be beautiful in its taste, nutritional value, and its appearance.  

During my freshman year at Boston University, I wrote for the food section of a university run lifestyle magazine, and I even created my own food Instagram page to highlight all the great restaurants I dined at in the city-- when my college budget allowed for the extravagance of eating out. I have always loved connecting with food and now that means so much more to me. I've always considered myself a foodie, but now it is more true than ever as I have a greater appreciation and a gained perspective on where food comes from, how it is produced, and the many nutritional values different types of produce can provide.

A summer on the farm had a significant impact on me, and the prospect of not being able to continue with this part of my food journey is disappointing, but it has made me begin planning for next year and a dorm with a full kitchen.  Until then, I will enjoy my last few days of working (and connecting with fresh produce) at the farm!  

Here's hoping you continue to enjoy farm to table!  Amanda Portis