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11 July 2005

the glories of the farmers' market

I'm back in Seattle, eating well, feeling well. Alaska was a blessing, and I managed to not accidentally have gluten more than once, right at the beginning. Glorious Sitka--I'll write more about that in here later. But now, after a week of readjusting to city life, I'm happy to be here too.

I'm still learning more and more about gluten-free food and how to live this healthy life. I continue to feel it's all a blessing. Yesterday, I went to the Ballard Farmers' Market. This is one of the wonders of Seattle--the weekly farmers’ markets. Nearly every neighborhood in Seattle has one running, from May to October. On Sundays, several streets in Ballard are blocked off to traffic. White flags wave in the breezes. People stroll with dogs and kids, everybody smiling. And there are thirty or forty booths, filled with fresh rasberries, spicy arugula, golden beets, and goat cheeses. Hippie-looking women sell hand-crafted candles and pink sandstone jewelry. And there are hot crepes, pizza slices from brick ovens, and sauteed Asian vegetables. Men with long hair talk philosophically with their short-haired girlfriends. And everyone looks like they live in Seattle: little makeup, fresh-scrubbed faces, wide-open glances, dressed in environmentally friendly clothes, and kind. Sometimes, a little insufferable with how earnest they are trying to be. But the peaches are so juicy that they drip down my fingers when I eat them. The blueberries burst open. And the bing cherries taste sweeter because I know this is the last week of the year I can have them. I came home with a bag full  of fresh fruit, a handmade blue cheese, and a bouquet of sunflowers. You have to come see it for yourself.

So this afternoon, for lunch, I had a giant salad made entirely of fresh greens and local produce. Arugula, sliced French radishes, ripe avocado, soft goat cheese, kalamata olives, some fresh lemon juice, and olive oil. And my new secret weapon with anything to do with vegetables: Vignalta sea salt. It's from Venice, Italy, local sea salt mixed with rosemary, sage, and pepper to preserve the summer's flavors. I have found it at Whole Foods and Metropolitan Market in Seattle, but I'm sure you could find it in most gourmet grocery stores. Try it. You'll like it. I also had a dash of it on the organic corn on the cob I ate with the salt, with just a touch of clarified butter.

Anyone who complains about the gluten-free diet needs to come to my house in the summer. This is about abundance, not being denied. I've never eaten so well in my life.


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