Today we spent a rainy evening in Chinatown at the C Mart, or Chinese grocery. Now one of the reasons I love the farm share so much (besides, of course, good food) is that I don't have to go to the grocery nearly as often. I don't know what it is about the grocery, but I don't like going. Probably because I'm always going for one little thing that I've forgotten.

Kyle, on the other hand, loves the grocery. He's not a big fan of going with a list, but he loves to wander and read labels and throw random things in the cart. So the Chinese grocery was heaven to him. I wish I'd had a camera--everywhere you looked there was something new: daikon, Chinese eggplant, really fresh ginger that was moist and had some of the flower attached, bitter melon, Chinese okra, karela, and durian--that infamous foul smelling fruit that Kyle is dying to get his hands on. They were selling them whole by the pound, and they're rather large fruits (think: watermelon, but spiny), so he passed.

And then there was the meat counter: tripe, bellies, feet, blood, and intestines mixed with the "regular" cuts. All being ordered from the butcher, neatly packaged, and going home with some happy cook.

The farm share is focusing our attention locally: what grows in New England and what's in season in August in New England. And we (obviously) think that's important and valuable. But it's also eye opening to step into a market that specializes in what's distinctly UN-local. Sure, there was Hood milk in the dairy section, but there was also aisle after aisle of fresh produce, fruits, seafood, meats, sauces, powders, and canned goods that we had never seen or heard of. It makes the world feel like it's still a pretty vast place.

We walked out without a durian, but we did get a few things: rice noodles, coconut milk, black Chinese rice, and lychee.

a close-up of our lychee: sort of similar to a muscadine, or wild grape, with a large, solid pit and a tough skin that you don't eat