Flowers for Rhubarb

I’m in Switzerland teaching and directing at a school called Dance Loft. It’s a sweet gig, though hardly local. Once again I paid my carbon offset on my plane ticket, and once again I’m wondering whether doing so actually made a beneficial difference.

I’m staying in Steinach, a tiny town two train stops away from Rorschach, where I’m working. The lilacs

and wisteria are in full glory

I really, really can’t complain about life right now (well, there’s the looming June 1st book deadline and the two dancers here who just dropped out because of injuries, but never mind).

This morning I complimented my landlady on the gorgeous bunch of rhubarb she had sticking out of her bag. She promptly gave me some, and then ran back into the house for some sugar “because you can’t eat rhubarb by itself.” Personally, I would have gone for some local honey, but generosity and kindness are local ingredients not to be trifled with and I decided not to be an ungrateful locavore.

It turns out that she got the rhubarb, along with a lot of other produce, from a neighbor in exchange for her flower arrangements. This is a longstanding trade agreement with between them.

What a lovely way to get food! I’m working on a chapter about ways to keep a local diet affordable, and I’m thankful to Frau Arnold for reminding me that barter is still an option in the 21st century.

Meanwhile, here’s me holding up a locally brewed beer,

and here’s my dad doing the same (he decided to turn the first week of my working trip into his vacation, the first one he’s had in several years).

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Get the book: Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes by Leda Meredith



One response to “Flowers for Rhubarb”

  1. acmeplant says:

    How great that Kelly joined you! And what a wonderful example of a win-win barter situation. Wish we could all do more of that. Do you think Con Ed would be interested in some jam…? 🙂

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