This Week’s Newsletter: Making Connections

Dear Shoppers,

When my granddaughter was in elementary school in Winchester and I was volunteering in her classroom every Friday, I observed something new in the curriculum that I thought was a really great innovation. In both the 1st and 2nd grades, she was taught to notice and make “connections” in the world around her, in what she read and in what they talked about in class. And this thought process was encouraged all throughout the day when there seemed to be a “connection” to be made. I think that way anyway but realize that in many people that kind of thinking is not intuitive; but it is certainly a part of logical thinking and should be introduced if not taught at an early age.

I was reminded of that just this past week when a series of coincidences came together to make for a great story. Last Sunday, the son of our bakery owner was at Gainesville to sell, which was unusual in itself as his uncle normally comes to that site. Marko was all excited to have been invited to bake the bread for a fundraising dinner in honor of Edna Lewis, famed cook, restaurateur and cookbook author, as part of the celebration of Black History Month. Marko went on to tell me that Top Chef finalist Carla Hall would be cooking, and that they were all using recipes used by Edna Lewis herself.

Marko was challenged to bake for the first time in their facility a bread that called for lard, which is not widely available anymore, even for professional bakers. If it were available, it would not be the freshly rendered lard that Edna’s recipe had intended. By coincidence I had in my home at that moment a three-pound tub of freshly rendered lard from heritage-breed hogs that Nevin Hostetter, who comes to market with our Mennonite co-op Heritage Farm and Kitchen, had just given me the week before. Talk about a connection! As I am writing this on Thursday morning, this very evening Nevin’s lard will appear at the dinner in Marko’s bread. And the bread will be about as authentic as it can get!

But that’s not quite the end of it either. Maybe 20 years ago (I am not sure of the date) my sister was managing the “front of the house” at the Fearrington House restaurant outside of Chapel Hill, N.C. Her good friend was the chef when Edna Lewis was brought in to create a new menu and serve as head chef for a year. That’s how I know about her, and I have the cookbook that was developed from that partnership.

It turns out that connections can be as much a part of our everyday life as we make them by staying attuned to the possibility. When they kick in on their own or when we call them up, it can really make life interesting. Below is a brief description of the organization which will receive the money from tonight’s dinner. I thought this sounded like something worth connecting to also.

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership is a nonprofit, four-state partnership dedicated to raising awareness of the unparalleled American heritage in a region running from Gettysburg, PA through Maryland and Harpers Ferry, WV to Jefferson’s Monticello in Albemarle County, VA. With more history than other region in the nation, the JTHG was recognized by Congress as a National Heritage Area and offers authentic heritage tourism programs and award-winning educational programs for students of all ages. Take the Journey to Where America Happened.

See you at the market!