One year ago, I was navigating the hectic, sensory-charged streets of Hong Kong. I was craning my neck beneath one of the densest urban spaces in the world, slurping hot noodles, haggling for jewelry in between fish and produce stalls an an outdoor market, squeezing in between natives and tourists and unforgiving drivers, figuring out how to renew my visa and return to China, all while trying not to sweat through my clothes (that was hopeless). Organizing the trip was a choice driven by desperation, and I owe a lot to Peter who literally wrote stop-by-stop metro directions for when I landed in Shenzhen and walked across the border into Hong Kong. I was largely alone, and it was an exhiliarating two days. I still remember and cherish my awe. Even more amazing is considering how much life has changed in this year.
Back to the year 2014:
Strawberry you-pick fields extend forever in the Finger Lakes. We went to a farm between Penn Yan and Geneva that allows you to harvest quarts for only $2 each. I was astonished at how bountiful the fields were, and the seductive red and juicy roundness of every berry. Families of all ages were voluntarily crouching beneath the expansive, sunny skies, diligently plucking at stems with stained fingers. We picked so many strawberries that some are frozen, jam, a crumble, muffins, eaten with ice cream and oatmeal, and my favorite way--enjoyed raw. I'd love to go back there in a few weeks for raspberries, then later in the season for tomatoes.
Eating these is a sound reminder of why we should reject grocery market berries from California and elsewhere: there is a reason that Earth has seasons, and these treasures are only supposed to be enjoyed during their small window. What we find in stores is likely genetically-modified (you notice how giant they are?), picked early and obviously out of season, then shipped thousands of miles and wasting significant water and fuel resources. The product is a lackluster frakenberry, lacking juice and semblance of their pure state. Summer in the northeast is an agricultural dream, so I say get out there and become part of it at local pick-your-own fields, and try to purchase most of your produce from area farmers. One of these days I'll come up with a more articulate argument against industrial agriculture, but for now my point rests at I like strawberries as much as you do, but once summer is over, it's not worth it.
Another Sunday evening at the Sandbar on Canandaigua Lake, luckily with a lot fewer patrons and our parents in tow! Alcohol isn't everything, but you can't beat kicking back in the Finger Lakes during the summer with your friends and cheap cocktails. We went across the street for dinner at a sports bar after. Kristen, Caitlan, and I had a perturbing, though amusing, encounter with a man that couldn't have been too older than us, trying to pick us up. I was at a loss for words, though Caitlan managed to say, "Can you leave? We're with our families" after giving him the benefit of the doubt (and him tremendously flopping). HA, bar dynamics.
Listening: "Hyperparadise (Remix)" by Flume