It’s a beautiful morning~/AOLAB ETHEREAL Aftermath#7. 14JAN2014

I didn’t use to be about  the quality of the medium when it came to all this stuff.

I guess it comes from eons of art classes and studio time. There’s a “before/after” dividing line to all things in my opinion when it comes to learning something new. You don’t give toddlers the cray pas that cost you $40 a “pas” because they are still in “eat me” ear mode when it comes to anything that fits in their mouths. Once you learn the medium, “get” the skill set in your bones, you graduate. Why is this coming up today? Hindsight awareness in regards to the year I’ve been learning to juice as I came in very happy from a supply trip this morning.

When I first began juicing, i’d juice anything I could get my hands on. I even juiced canned beets-gleefully, too. I ooh’d and ahh’d over the vivid elixirs gushing forth as if i’d made water come from a rock- I know- ridiculousness, but fun.

As time went on, I noticed that though I was very organic about the thing kinesthetically speaking, I was ambivalent about whether the fruit or veg Was organic-especially if I was riffing. If I was like “Hmmm~ I wonder what red pepper and blood orange with some daikon takes like all together?” [which I haven’t tried & omg that sounds Sooo good right now!] i’d grab the first red pepper & blood orange I saw & play with it.

As time went on I started being nudged to go more organic consciously and I just flowed with it. As I flowed, I found out that the intuitive nudge was perfectly timed in regards to the vegetables and such available here, the strange issues popping up with our national food supply a little too often for my tastes, the cost and the comparison. If an organic zucchini is 1.29 & a conventional one is .89,  I was not only saving 40 cents, I was saving that 40 cents AND depositing disease causing chemicals in me that it would’ve cost them 40 cents to not put on. It’s like you’re saving the forty cents to put towards future hospital bills lol. It was an absent logic, whatever it was. But it was what I needed.

THAT came on its own, no pressure-&tell anyone who pressures you before you make that progression to kiss your ass, by the way.

But once you cross that threshold, it can be like Diana Ross in Oz watching mofos strut languidly in green lame before they switch to the new color cornucopia of the moment. It is a monstrosity of an industry all its own, this “Organic” beast these days.

“Wheatgrass? That’s so passé~ today we’re drinking the bath water of baby arugula and it’s deee-vine~ surely you’ve partaken of such loveliness?”

and ya know what?  As an ex-fash-ole I’m kinda cool with that. Long live bomb-assed marketing I say[& I am sure I have…somewhere lol. Eh, it is what it is. Know Thyself.lol]. There’s a line between the hype and the help in everything, and I have no problem with said line. I just ask for some semblance of integrity about whatever it is you’re going to believe so hard that you hawk it hardcore.

Which is where the problem showed itself. When going to Whole Foods IS a trek, and you get there to comparison shop the organics of the local juggernaut in your hood to Mount Olympus, and their produce comes up not only lacking, but twice as expensive, that there shit becomes the designer denim conundrum.

There’s only so much you can do to a pair of dungarees that will justify what you’re really wanting to be charging me like YOU personally made it here-like the backroom of Saks kind of here- when I KNOW the old-school “local boys” actual denim Fabric to this DAY beats what you buy wholesale because they are like farm-deep with that mess.

Back to food… sad yet still overpriced organic groceries is a moving metaphor for our times. If I have to be JUST as picky in Oz, maybe I need to look closer at Kansas and see what other options I have in this.

Which is what i’d decided to do.

Now to be clear, I was not “Horrified.” It may be the coming from the “Nyc show-off stage” of whole foods after young’unning it in the wild markets that used to exist up and down 10th avenue between 34th & 42nd street, then transplanting to Miami. South Beach especially, where they don’t play.

Even the mess i used to whine about in south beach, I long for laughingly:

“Oh my god!! Whyyyy can’t I find any Hazelnut oil in this god forsaken place?!?!? You call THIS a Baguette?You fricking Animals!!! Frozen blueberries in my smoothie? Are we in a cold snap? Is this Antarctica? Are you going to TRY & tell me there were no fresh blueberries in ALL those fricking container ships trolling past south Pointe&- What the-?!”

Fine! I was a Hot mess! [THAT WAS EXAGGERATED TO PRESENT MY POINT,PEOPLE] But you don’t understand! Miami- Miami does stuff to things! And things to stuff- and- Buhlieve Me…iiiiii was NOT bad- I was the low-key chick. South Beach is the spot where the BEST pickup spot in town is in the aisles of certain unnamed grocery stores, Fully-decked out in your- oh my god- South beach was the city of Oz! lol that explains it.

It’s not that I was repeatedly horrified by the selection, just kind of mortified and routinely demoralized. It’s the- It is like Being in Florida and biting into a bland orange. Say what you will, it does something to the psyche. Here I am On the Gulf of Mexico, and even at Whole Foods- it’s like I shouldn’t be able to say I’ve had sucky grocery experiences in this zone of the country. It’d be like a travesty of strawberries out in California. There’s too much grown here. This should NOT be even a remote problem. & I am Not that picky. I’m really not. & I am on a budget, so there’s only so picky I can even be. Although I know that my frugal bone’d kick in even when there was no general budget. September babyisms, maybe.

But therein is the rub. I forget…that its not like Whole foods is locally sourcing their orgs.

And so, on this journey of self-discovery that you have graciously agreed to join my goofy butt on, we find ourselves returning to my roots, my source, the space that once upon a time gave me sincere hope in regards to the then pending recovery of this here spot on the map. Kansas. Which, in the New Orleans experience for me is also known as Hollygrove.

aholly00024

The Hollygrove Farm and Market was begun in 2007 or so, about a year before my arrival out in the neighborhood as a volunteer house-painter fleeing a deranged possum. By 2010, the urban farm they’d developed was winning national awards and recognition, and yours truly  was naming chickens between art classes at  Camp Creare down the road. At least one was named George. I can’t recall if there was a Leroy or a Bobby, but I am sure there was because I always use those names.

That’s right. a comparatively Big-assed Organic Farm, technically IN the City of New Orleans. clarity: In the straight HOOD.  The Hood where the Spirit of NOLA loved me into her family. A farm that  had Bloomed up like a mug from the same odd, deep love that is back in that there holy ground. I’d been by once in 2012 when I first came back to town, nowhere near this food odyssey, and they were closed.

There ARE various pop-up farmer’s markets around town, subscription boxes and the like, and i’d- there’s just a scene to all of that, one I can appreciate only on sporadic days. Spread out across perhaps years.

But I went today. To the farm…that I used to go to on bad days here to have my hope renewed for what this city was going to renew as.

And every prayer that I could’ve possibly sent up in my sleep over this entire thing was answered. They have a box.

aahollygrove-00062

In that box that you put together yourself, today they had the Weekday Box for Tuesday, January 14th thru Thursday, January 16th as well as Tuesday & Wednesday Home Delivery:

Naturally Grown Shiitake Mushrooms (MSNP, New Hebron, MS)

Naturally Grown Blood Oranges (Alford Farms, Plaquemines Parish)

Organic Satsumas (L’Hoste Citrus, Braithwaite, LA)

Pesticide Free Collards (Frank Fekete Farms, Hungarian Settlement, LA)

Hydroponic, Pesticide Free Slicer Tomatoes (Cajun Growers & Tomott’s)

Pesticide Free Sweet Potatoes (Pointe Coupee Minority Growers Co-op, Pte. Coupee Parish)

Pesticide Free Cabbage (Frank Fekete Farms, Hungarian Settlement, LA)

Green Onions (Perilloux Produce) OR Beets (Frank Fekete Farms)

Organic Pecans (Inglewood Farms, Alexandria, LA)

Ruby Red Grapefruit (Star Nursery, Belle Chasse, LA)

Organic Navel Oranges (L’Hoste Citrus, Braithwaite, LA)

Green Tomatoes (Poche Farm, Independence, LA)

It’s the first time God has “allowed” me to get mushrooms in years!  Multiples of everything. $25. Heaviest bag of produce in ages. ALL of it Gorgeous. At whole foods that pull would cost $75, and I would’ve been trying not to cut my eyes at their version of green tomatoes and stunted sweet potatoes.

Gets better. Organic Locally produced Whole milk…in Glass half gallon jugs that you bring back & switch out? less than 4.50,plus one-time deposit. And after MONTHS of trolling, I find what? Raw Turmeric. kid you not. & real gen mai cha, they had organic meats, butter- cheeses,homemade tofu- Amazing breads- I’ve literally ridden past the street this is on heading TO Whole foods to be disappointed umpteen times, knew it was here and *whap,* only today.

AND…for those of you who know how I was in nyc when it was like go-time…they’re even doing hydroponic and aquaponic stuff on site- I saw the fish living in the water that- I was just-

Good Local Produce.

If you get here, check them out.

If you live here,have them deliver you a box and see for yourselves.

http://www.hollygrovemarket.com/

And so it is here…in the synergistic flow of all the aspects of things that I love…that I enter the “AFTER” of that before/after nexus that I began this speaking about.

A.B.

p.s.,

By the grace of god, Ethereal is still a go!

 

*sad note*

Just found out today that those chickens i wrote about…were slaughtered…by a deranged possum two months ago. Irony.

 

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