State by State

Apparently there is an entire country between Boston and San Francisco.

stand

by Natalia

Fall is upon us. No more dripping sweet juice fleshy peaches from Palisade, Colorado. And those were the best peaches I've ever had. Something to do with cool nights and hot days.

For the last month we were quite lucky with fruits and vegetables. We have discovered a nearby (8 miles away via a biking trail) farm stand in Frisco that carried local produce. Local may be a bit of a stretch: Palisade is 170 miles away. Then again, this is probably the closest place you can grow food in these mountains.

As always I am grateful when somebody deems it profitable to provide an alternative to standard grocery store fare: over-chilled peaches and flavorless tomatoes. Locally grown food, that wasn't picked unripened and didn't spend days on the back of an air-conditioned truck, tastes much better. And the selection changes with seasons. Right now peaches and melons just ended, while apples increase in variety. The realization that tomatoes will soon disappear makes me appreciate them more.

To be sure the prices are higher than what one pays at the store, but so is the quality. I can afford it and yet I still shop in supermarkets. It's mostly about convenience. Stands like the one in Frisco are rare. We were driving through the countryside taking mostly back roads and haven't spotted many. We did find scores of farmers markets, but those are once a week affairs, usually not on the day when we are in the area.

Food is so ubiquitous and yet so anonymous. We need it everyday, but we rarely know who produced it. Buying at the farm stand is one way of getting closer to the source: one is dealing with a person - or his daughter/wife/mother as happens to be the case at the Uncle John's farm stand in Frisco - who personally dealt with a farmer. Knowing the grower first hand may be better but not easier. I know personally only 2 people who grow food for living - Dave and Sasha. I worked with them at a large corporation before they turned to farming. Now they grow excellent organic food that they sell at a farmers market and as CSA shares. If you live close to Middleboro, Massachusetts, check out their Plato's Harvest farm.

And I will keep looking for my holy grail of food: good, fresh, tasty and next door. Without having to grow it myself.

prairie

This was always a land to be crossed as quickly as possible. Both for 19th century pioneers and for 21th century road trippers. The reasons might be different. Pioneers going West to Oregon and California thought of the prairie as a desert. No timber, no water, no soil good for farming. Little did they know that the land sits on top of the Ogallala Aquifer. Which happens to be the largest in the word.

14er

We've conquered our first fourteener in Colorado. Or anywhere for that matter. 1 down (or rather up), and only 53 more to go. You have to love the imperial system. 14 thousand feet sounds so much more impressive than mere 4300 meters. SI is of course just a failed French conspiracy to make American mountains appear smaller. The trail description promises imagining oneself at the base camp on Everest. And sure enough we've met two older ladies (sixty five and seventy four years old - that's older, right?) preparing for trekking in Nepal. Looks like we still have a little time to conquer remaining fourteeners. And to go to Nepal.