In her column, Farmgirl Angst, in this issue, Marilee Foster, one of our most senior writers, brings what we’ve been doing for 10 years into stark relief. Sure, we celebrate growing seasons—it’s summer!—and growers and producers, but what it boils down to, what we celebrate the most, is the collaboration among people from such disparate backgrounds and, seemingly, interests that go into maintaining the commons.
The commons: “the shared resources in which each stakeholder has an equal interest.” Who are the stakeholders? We are! What are the resources? The water, soil and air! And when we have a common interest, what is the only way to maintain it? By working together.
Which is a long way to go to get back to where we started; that collaboration is necessary for the continued ability to feed ourselves by ourselves. A soil farmer, like Marilee, may spend her days alone on a tractor, but when she sits down to interview oyster farmer Karen Rivara, little but their medium separates them. (They even have the same complaints.)
Travel an hour or so west to Carle Place where our writer of the Ethnic Eats column, Natalia de Cuba Romero, alights to visit Kioso, a sushi restaurant so embraced by its community that diners know the chef and his fishmonger by name. Kikumatsu Mitsumori is a regular at Two Cousins in Freeport, where he grabs live black fish from the tank to later lay out on a sashimi plate.
But it is summer—finally—and the solstice is a great reason to celebrate the maintenance of a commons with the most American of meals: the potluck. Ask everyone to visit their farmers markets or favorite vendor, delve into recipes handed down through generations or recently shared by a chef, and make something that, once we all sit down together, provides another insight into how much more we are like each other than not.
Eileen M. Duffy, editor | Edible Long Island + Edible East End