As my diet has changed over to more and more straight-from-the-farm food, I’ve been amazed at all the different flavors that I’ve been discovering. I’ve always tried to eat well, but in letting go of processed food, I’ve realized how the primary taste in that kind of food is of salt and sugar. A lot of salt and sugar. Both of which are really enhancers, useful in moderation to bring out other flavors. But the American diet is so full of sugar and salt that many people have become so dependent on these two substances that they have forgotten the vast array of the many different flavors of simple, unadulterated food.
And are they ever missing something! When we eat fresh food, not only do we savor the subtle flavors both in taste and smell, I think we eat slower and perhaps less. I’ve noticed that very sweet or salty food is easy to gulp down–we want more and more of that sensation on our tongues. But ultimately it’s not fully satisfying. In fact, when I eat too much sugar, I feel downright sick. And when we’re used to the sweet/salty taste of processed food, we don’t try new tastes, especially with vegetables and herbs. Walking through a farmers’ market is a feast for the eyes and for our palates.
I recently discovered how much I like raw kale as a salad with olive oil and salt.
My husband has avoided radishes all his life until he had a taste of these beauties from the Galin-Flory Farms stand at the Cedar Mill Farmers Market last summer. Now, I’m happy to say, they appear often in our salads.
And those are common vegetables. How about trying daikon, raab, maitake mushrooms, shallots, turnips, green garlic, joi choi, fennel, parsnips, and the choices go on and on. Or, if you’re a meat eater, try venison, elk, or lamb. I’ve seen duck eggs and huge turkey eggs as well. Don’t know how to cook these new foods? Try the recipe section on the Portland Farmers Market site. We are lucky to have so many farms growing such a variety of food in our area. Let’s go out and explore our markets. Let me know what you discover!