Today I had planned to go to a local food potluck in Los Angeles County. In the morning, I went through my seeds, picking out the most rare and unusual varieties. Not everyone gets the tepary beans, you know. In the afternoon I went out to the community garden to gather all my best salad greens. The cool rainy weather has been kind.
Tucked underneath the shell peas I found a few volunteer corn salad plants. Last year I had tried to save some seed, but the seeds were so stinky they had to be removed from the house. I threw the rest of the seeds here and there, and that is where all the corn salad plants are this year.
My neighbor offered me some really great arugula in exchange for bean and pea nibbling rights. I cut one buttercrunch lettuce head out of its protective cage, and a few sprigs of cilantro, parsley, Thai basil, and thyme. I harvested another leek just in case.
“Take all you want,” crowed J, another neighbor, after discovering the cut-and-come-again nature of his row of broccoli plants. I picked several mini-spears for the salad.
There was one more plant to be harvested. In the midst of the sweet pea patch, I recently noticed a volunteer celery plant. Since the peas were getting much taller, the celery underneath was sweet and crisp and naturally blanched.
At home I sautéed the leeks in a local olive oil, added slivers of red corno di toro pepper fresh from the backyard and finished it off with a squeeze of lemon from a neighbor’s tree. I carefully sliced the celery into chevrons and assembled the salad.
I drove to the potluck, but upon arrival, I found out that they insisted on a large “donation” to attend, so I turned around and went home and ate the salad locally. Someday I hope to give some seeds to some of the localvores I had planned to meet tonight. In the meantime, I will make sure my neighbors, who contributed to my potluck salad, have all the seeds they need, even the teparies.