I really don’t want to post about this.
I don’t want to post about this but how can I help it – it’s fabulous!
But if I tell everyone about this then they will come. They will discover a true Long Beach gem – delectable, affordable, fresh, hearty – and it’s IN Long Beach. And they may run out of food on Farm Fresh Fridays. And I’ll have to eat one of the Lean Cuisines I keep in the shared refrigerator at work, the one that smells like moldy syrup and lingonberries.
Then again, really, who am I kidding? Only five or six of you read this blog, and probably only one of you lives within a two-hour drive of the Spring Street Farm.
So why not? Why not tell you about a great place to scoop up fresh vegetables, an unforgettable meal, and good conversation. And to leave puffed up with a little Long Beach pride?
Farm Fresh Friday’s Butterfly Lunch Club lets you do just that. I was invited, perchance, by two different friends of mine who are connected to the farm’s director, Kelli Johnson. Launched in 2009 as an effort between the Long Beach Community Action Partnership (CAP) and the City’s Youth Opportunity Center, this urban farm offers sustainably grown produce to Long Beachians while supporting youth development efforts and healthy communities.
The 1.5 acre urban, organic teaching farm was established thanks the generous use of vacant land by the Salvation Army, and continues to thrive thanks to the efforts of Long Beach CAP.
As awesome as this project is, you know I’m (mostly) about the food. The Butterfly Lunch Club gives those in the know a chance to pre-order from a menu of farm fresh selections. This week’s choices did not disappoint.
As a Lunch Club rookie, I went the glutton route, asking for more than one menu item, not realizing that one item would be more than enough to fill my (expanding) belly. So yes, I ordered two items all by my self. No worries, though. My turkey meatloaf sandwich was incredibly rewarding later in the evening as a leftover – I almost sang in my kitchen as I stuffed my face. [*Picky Eater Confession #1: Prior to this experience, while I’ve made meatloaf plenty of times, I’d never actually eaten meatloaf before. The whole idea of a loaf of meat is scary in my opinion. And the loaves I’ve made were only at the request of my husband – though it’s been years since he’s asked for one, I’ll admit, so maybe my loaves weren’t very appetizing; they certainly didn’t look very delectable. So to put it simply, I was deflowered this day – I lost my meatloaf virginity]
Yes, I will continue to rave about the meatloaf sandwich. It was so good, I wanted to give my husband a sample because, as someone who used to ask for turkey meatloaf, I knew he would appreciate it. But I thought better of this idea as the day passed, instead eating it alone in my dark kitchen as he watched television in the bedroom, the light from the refrigerator helping me slice my way through the sandwich so that with each bite I would enjoy the right balance of bread, loaf, slaw, and mayo. Oooohh, the MAYO! I could have slumbered in it. The MAYO is what made me sing.
The noodle salad was my lunch, made with the same vegetables that topped the meatloaf as a slaw. The salad was quit delicious as well, the dressing tangy and zesty, the citrus providing a nice balance. But now that I’m in the know, I’ll opt for a double order of the sandwich the next time it’s offered.
Shawna was kind (and full?) enough to offer me some of her bread pudding. [Picky Eater Confession #2: Before the Butterfly Lunch Club on Friday, I’d never had bread pudding. Sorry, Mr. Cosby – I don’t like pudding. I (now) know that bread pudding is in no way connected to the processed lunch pail snack, but in itty bitty mind always imagined a slice of Wonder Bread dipped in tapioca flavored Jell-O. Just like I never tried cheesecake until my early 20s because I couldn’t imagine a cake made out of cheese (American, Swiss, Cheddar) could be enjoyable. It’s a whole word association thing.] Did I enjoy the bread pudding? You betcha. Especially after slathering my bite in the rich, vanilla-flecked whipped cream served alongside it. I’m hoping that all bread pudding is like this and that this isn’t some uniquely fabulous iteration only to be found at Farm Fridays.
But if it is, that’s just fine because my Fridays are set. I’m there. Rain or shine (unless I just got my hair done… then again, I can get my order to go). I’m not really sure if I’ve been officially invited to the Butterfly Lunch Club, but now I know. I’m in on the secret. And please, please, please, don’t you tell anyone either. You won’t want to see me if the next time they offer the turkey meatloaf sandwich, they sell out before I get a chance to put in my order – Halloween ain’t got nothing on my hungry horror.
Until I eat again…
Special shout out to Christy and Shawna for the invite, and to Kelli for the hospitality (and healthy vittles)!
Some follow-up pics from other lunches*