Two ladies standing nearby as I was buying organic vegetable seedlings and bio-intensively grown sprouts, from Bob Burns of Aiki Farm at the weekly Stonington Borough Farmers Market, asked, “are you going to have those as a salad?” I told them I was. “Actually,” I said, “I add them to the salad, toss in large amounts, along with other things.” Bob Burns is watching with a small smile. He’s a former U.S. Marine and we always greet each other with “Semper Fi”. One of the ladies asks, “you mean, with lettuce?” “Sure; I mean with two or three kinds of lettuce: radicchio, bib, red leaf, some arugula; then I typically add tomato, yellow peppers, onion slivers, maybe avocado, apple, purple grapes or both.” “You put apple in salad, really?”
I explain that small chunks of crisp, sweet apple make a salad perfect, tantalizing the taste buds, blending with the added drops of thick balsamic vinegar and complimenting the light film of extra virgin olive oil. Salads should be eaten eight to ten times a week, smaller ones before or with main meals, a large one for a main meal now and then. They are filling, nutritious, low in density and therefore low in calories. Bob’s sprouts and seedlings add just the right touch.
Speaking of olive oils, there is a superb article in this weeks Bloomberg Business magazine... http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-california-olive-oil/
One has to be careful of what one buys. A certain amount of so-called ‘extra-virgin’ oil seems to be adulterated and/or mislabeled. Usually you can tell from the taste. Test your oil neat by dipping a small piece of crusty bread in the oil, Italian style. Once you find the perfect brand, stay with it. There are more and more specialty shops now that sell good oils and vinegars; the owners often travel to the countries and specific olive groves to select their products. Stonington Borough has such a shop, called Amapola’s, right on central Water Street next to Tom’s General Store, where they offer a huge selection of excellent olive oils and vinegars, teas and chocolate truffles.
Bob Burns is telling another customer how wonderful he feels, doing just what he loves, thanking God. He gives me a thumbs up as I leave, and a parting Semper Fi – “see you next week”. It may be winter outside the Velvet Mill, but it’s hard to match Stonington Borough for personal warmth!