Voracious this year is celebrating our local farmers markets with a series of poems extolling what's newly ripe and ready for sale. Each week during market season, we'll run a poem from a local poet who's found inspiration in the region's bounty. And should you find yourself feeling similarly inspired after reading their odes to romaine lettuce, nectarines, pea vines and gooseberries, the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance has provided us with recipes featuring each of the edible muses.
When we first invited poets to contribute poems for our Producing Poetry series, our guidelines included a maximum word count. Michael Dylan Welch didn't come close to hitting it.
Welch, vice president of the Haiku Society of America, submitted a pair of very short poems about tomatoes. While field-grown tomatoes haven't made it to the markets yet, Janet Hurt of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance says it's the perfect week to buy heirloom tomatoes.
"Farmer Rich Ness has been cultivating heirlooms for many years at his Kittitas Valley Greenhouse farm, and he loves bringing these beauties to market in spring and early summer, well before field-grown tomatoes are available," she writes.
Hurt suggests serving tomato slices with the dressing detailed on the final page. Reluctant cooks will be thrilled to discover the recipe doesn't run much longer than one of Welch's haiku.
by Michael Dylan Welch
a cherry tomato
bursts in my mouth
a broken bamboo cane--
grow along the ground
from Mariel's Kitchen by Mariel Hemmingway
2 T Dijon mustard
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 T white balsamic vinegar
¼ c olive oil
Blend all ingredients in a blender until creamy. Optional: Sprinkle some fresh chopped herbs from the market on top.