Appetite

When my teenager was an infant, I peddled maple syrup, homemade root beer, and ice cream at what was then the very tiny Hardwick farmers market, so sparse that some Friday afternoons it was just me and another vendor.

In those long hot afternoons, the vendors got to know each other. My friend Charlie Emers, of Patchwork Farm, had an enormous orange, rust-eaten Suburban, that would eventually head to the junkyard with years’  worth of debris inside. Son of an artist and an artist himself, Charlie grew the best peppers I have ever eaten. In late summer, he began pickling my favorite variety – Habanero Hots – in small jars he called Poker Peppers after his favorite game.

Yesterday, in a Williston store I’d never entered, I found a jar of bright red peppers that reminded me of those Poker Peppers: jalapeños, but deliciously fragrant with the spicy summer season. I might eat the whole jar myself.

‘Eating is an agricultural act,’ as Wendell Berry famously said. It is also an ecological act, and a political act, too. Though much has been done to obscure this simple fact, how and what we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world – and what is to become of it.

Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma

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Photo by Molly S.

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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