Ok, I didn’t take my camera on my roadtrip. What can I say? I’m a slacker blogger. I just didn’t want to have to chronicle everything and think, “that would be a good blog post.” I wanted to relax and let shit happen. Which it did. I’m writing a new book and all the juicy details will spill around, um, 2014.
Luckily, Bill bought a camera in Chicago and so he got some photos of Chicago, which we went to mainly to eat. We went to the Ukrainian Village and enjoyed a bunch of crazy stuff (for us), including meat balls in a dill cream sauce, pickled fish, a pickled apple which bobbed around with friends in a vat of sugary vinegar (gotta try making those at home), beet and horseradish spread, and the most amazing sauerkraut that was pickling in a big vat. Somehow we didn’t get a shot of the vat of pickled herring from Iceland, which smelled to high heaven, so this has to suffice.
We also ate pizza, sliced in the square-cut style that I really love.
Up to that point, we had been stopping at the numerous roadside produce stands that we encountered in most of the small towns along small roads. I was so excited to see people growing their own food. Some people didn’t even man the stands, they just had a stand with an umbrella and a money jar. Genius. The produce was amazing, as you might expect in the middle of August. Sweet corn, cantalopes, cucs, tomatoes. Because we were driving, I’d sliced up cucs and tomatoes and onions, throw them in a tupperware with vinegar and olive oil and they would marinate. Then I would fork bits into Bill and my mouth while we hurtled down the highway.
Detroit. I have a lot to say about Detroit, because I’ve always imagined it as a mythical city filled with urban farms. And it does have a bunch of them. We could only stay for two days, so we barely scratched the surface. I loved the vegetable garden at Earthworks Urban Farm, where they pump out produce and honey for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and train people how to grow their own food. They even had a bike repair shop. Note drying garlic.
Then we went to the alternative high school featured in Grown in Detroit, called the Catherine Ferguson Academy, where, my heart swelled, they have goats!
The deal is they have a curriculum for pregnant teens and young mothers that involves raising chickens, ducks, rabbits, goats, bees, a horse, and fruit trees in the name of science and self-empowerment. I hadn’t heard of the movie, but the leader of the school, a fellow named Paul, sounds incredible. Like they feed the goats by growing alfalfa on six blocks of abandoned land, which Paul cuts himself. Whoa!
They also had a “musuem” of ways to keep bees. It included a stump, a skep, top bar, Lang, and a strange octogonal shaped hive. Here’s the skep:
After Detroit (see Patrick Couch’s excellent blog for more about the Detroit scene), we headed to West Virginia for Bill’s family reunion. There I consumed about 20 pounds of the best-tasting tomatoes I have ever had. West Virginny definitely has something over California in that regard. We also ate amazing home-made canned green beans, pickled sweet beets, canned venison, and cousin Barb’s zucchini lasagna.
The trip was pretty much over for me, I flew home, and you know–I was mighty proud (and I’ll admit it, surprised) that there is good food all across our great land. Bill continued on, hitting some amazing joints along Highway 61. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I might even do another road trip.
Of course, now that I’m back, after neglecting my poor garden, it looks like hell. Still, I harvested some apples and have some greens and honey, so come on by Tuesday Sept 7, 5-7pm to pick up some supplies and say howdy. I have a new goat, too, who might want to meet you.
665 28th street (at 28th street and MLK)
This Tuesday, Sept 7, 5pm-7pm