~summer shorts~ give rise

“Some people have an aesthetic of delineation and symmetry, of keeping each vegetable distinct from each other vegetable. That’s great, and it works for them. My philosophy, though, is abundance. I want to draw people in with color, and piles of overflowing vegetables, spilling forth from cornucopias, piling into one another, blending into a rainbow.”

I stacked sopping wet bunches of carrots, cold water droplets sprinkling the multicolored veggie-print fabric on which I laid them. The new staff member painted by number, adding veggies to each basket I had laid out with a representative of what I wanted there.

Laurie had asked me to help refresh the vibe of our market booth. When she asked me to make a rainbow display, it flipped a switch for me. My pandemic farmer’s market year-plus has been a continued effort of showing up, devotion, doing what I believe in – food security, organic growing, getting food to the people. It used to be more about enjoyment than just devotion. I haven’t been making displays, much less rainbow ones. I have been letting the crew who handled the veggies handle the veggies, while I handled the money. An important job, but not soul-nourishing. Emerging from the pandemic has been halting and awkward, as predicted, but it’s been dawning on us that we can revive some things, like big, beautiful displays. The prospect of making a sweeping swath of veggie artwork before me, I was back to excited.

Cascading eggplants, purple onions, and purple majesty potatoes, purple carrots with their orangey-red lateral root scars. Fragrant basil, parsley, dill, and mint flooding green leaves around four kinds of zucchini, two kinds of cucumbers, and broccoli. Pattypan and yellow summer squash the color of sunshine blending into goldenrod-hued sweet Italian peppers, their tapered tips and seductive shoulders peeking from a basket near the center, making their summer debut. A mountain of orange carrots, golden beets blending into red beets, red Norland potatoes, dryland (non-irrigated) tomatoes, concentrated red succulence.

While searching for the term for the lines on a carrot, wondering about that specific feature of rootiness, I stumbled upon a Plant Ontology forum (as one does) and learned they can also be called root periderm scars. I guess they have been called root lenticels, but it is now understood that they do not conduct gas-exchange. They are formed when lateral roots emerge and initiate a wound response in the periderm – the peripheral cell layers. Cells proliferate, heal over this wound, form a new layer. The plant ontologists decided a new name, root periderm scars, was warranted.

It makes me think about how forming new roots can inflict injury. How wounds can result in scars, in tissue that cannot breathe. But also how injury can give rise to new growth, new layers.

1 comment to ~summer shorts~ give rise

  • camp boss

    Ya can’t have a rainbow without a little rain….
    glad your finding yourself a chance to create beautiful veggie rainbows again… it really is a fun thing to do!!

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