Sunday, July 15, 2007

Summer is Fine in the PNW

Let's say for the sake of argument that there is a better place to be on this mid-July day than the Pacific Northwest.

Possible contender: Paris.

Definitely not: Las Vegas.

I've been in upstate New York (swelter), South Carolina (gag), Virginia (please), Florida (are you nutz?) and Maine (nice. . . but . . .) in the summer. If you are a fan of sweat and bugs, you are golden in any of these really nice states. If, however, you think that humidity is highly overrated and mosquitoes should be eradicated by any means humanly possible, you should absolutely, definitely see for yourself what a summer day in the PNW means.

Picture it: temps in the eighty degree range (on the high end), evenings in the sixties, a perfect balance of cloud cover to clear blue sky, a fine cooling breeze blowing most days, and absolutely no humidity.

There is nothing finer, in my experience, than the simple duo of sublime weather and breathtaking scenery that occurs in my new home town. And, let's face it--we humans are pretty fixated on the weather and the scenery. And for good reason. As an agri-nation, we are so dependent on our farmers. And here, we are super-focused on keeping local and reducing the impact on the planet each time we buy anything--mostly our food. Luckily, we have an insane farmers market and from April to October I can buy whatever is in season a few hours after it has been harvested, picked, or pinched from its base.

I don't know if the farmers here, where I am so lucky to live, are better than most, but I kind of want to believe in my total naivete that they grow the very best raspberries, blueberries, carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes, cherries and even hay available anywhere. Anywhere! They sell the produce to the grateful people who flock to the farmers market each Wednesday and Saturday, and the hay goes into what appear to be actual happy cows. And they, in turn help make some of the most sublime artisan gouda and mantasio cheeses I've ever tasted.

Summer in the Pacific Northwest. I cannot believe I've lived so long without it.

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