I found myself digging for potatoes in Central Park last week. Let’s just say that ended poorly. Seems the Central Park Conservancy doesn’t encourage that kind of thing. On Monday, I walked behind a pig while he rooted for truffles near the trees at Centre Street. The Court Clerks weren’t amused. And today I picked what I thought were edible flowers along the East River bike path—an altogether inadvisable endeavor.
I can’t help myself. I might live in one of the most urban spots on the planet, but there’s farm in my blood. Maybe you have some too. If you find yourself fondling produce at the Union Square greenmarket on Saturdays, or plotting an escape from your concrete confines to an orchard three hours outside the city to pick your own, you’re probably harboring a farm gene or two.
Fortunately, I was able to get my farm on last month when I visited family in Cleveland. My grandmother’s garden was ready for the final harvest. I picked two giant baskets of tomatoes, upwards of 100 hot peppers, a massive bunch of parsley and one zucchini. A giant zucchini. A zucchini so impressive in its enormity it put all other zucchinis that had come before it to shame.
It was five pounds and bigger than my head. Bigger than my forearm. Heck, it was as big as the puppy.
It took days to eat. There was grilled zucchini, zucchini fries, zucchini sauté. By Day 4 of cooking nothing but zucchini for my husband, my quest to consume every last bit of this most massive of vegetables assumed a Dr. Suessian quality to it. Will you eat it off the grill? I will not eat it off the grill. I will not eat it off the sill. I do not like zucchini roast, zucchini toast and most of all, zucchini poached!
Suffice it to say we eventually (some might say “unwillingly”) ate the entire zucchini. Which is good, because I hear it was a bumper crop year for squash.