Growing up, I always had access to fresh vegetables and fruit. My dad hails from a line of avid gardeners, and, in my childhood home, nary an inch of arable soil, in the backyard, front yard, or anywhere in between, was wasted. Grapevines graced the trellises of our backyard, where I searched for lady bugs and observed ants marching obediently in line. Under the undulating sun, my sisters and I played amid red tomatoes clinging tenderly to vines, ever-purpling eggplants, and golden squash tinged with green.
In other words, I've got a bit of a soft spot in my heart for farm-fresh produce, an endearment that was encouraged by many leisurely Saturdays spent at Portland's many farmers' markets. And so when, sometime last week, I found a Khmer co-op on the same block on which I worked, I was hooked. Instantly.