Send Me to the Commune

Beech Hill Farm

Grated beet salad with red onions, carrots, and a delicious vinaigrette. Grass-fed beef steaks, perfectly grilled.  A potato salad made with homemade mayonnaise and chipotle relish. Melting, sweet homegrown tomatoes with good olive oil, sea salt and basil. Boiled Maine lobster. Broiled baby eggplant with lemon basil and a pole bean, red onion, and tomato salad. Wild blueberry buckle.

That is but a small sample of what I’ve been eating in the last few days.

One of the joys of my summer is visiting two sets of friends who have waterfront houses, one on Star Lake in the Adirondacks and the other on Mount Desert in Maine. They also have adorable kids whom my kids love, and adding to the beautiful scenery and recreation and general air of  happiness is the fact that my friends have vegetable gardens and love to cook.  So we pool the amazing produce from our gardens and cook the kind of sumptuous many-course meals that are only possible when there are two or three people in the kitchen and at the grill each doing their own thing.

And in Maine, whatever we haven’t grown, we buy at Beech Hill Farm, a gorgeous place that is a project of the College of the Atlantic, with the kind of glamorous, perfectly groomed produce that I suspect only idealistic student labor can explain.

It all makes communal living seem really attractive. If only I could find a commune with no ideology other than that of superb ingredients.



  1. Quote:
    “It all makes communal living seem really attractive. If only I could find a commune with no ideology other than that of superb ingredients.”

    There is, it’s called an extended family where you have all sorts of aunts, uncles cousins, grandmother and grandfathers and so forth. Unfortunately man modern day folks have forgotten this. When maybe not Mexicans and other from the 3rd world places.

    Nice article.

  2. Yum! Sort of true (Timeless Environments) IF your family can cook and if they love the fresh, homegrown ingredients, etc. I love cooking with my daughters (ages 17 and 20) but they learned from me and they garden with me.

    • Sandra, it was with that in mind that i made my comment. I remeber as a kid in Iowa with family in Summertime. Garden harvesting, Canning and general large meals three times a day. I also remember some farmers going on vacation and neighbours taking care of their farm chores while they were gone. I also remember getting togather and everyone hay baling for each other in large groups and in turn. I hating though being the kid who had to be in the barn and stack hay in hot sticky heat with all that hay dust. Arms broke out in hives and my lungs would conjest, but the food was always great.

      But those times even back in Iowa are long gone. Corporation run Ag giant farms and no one many don’t help the way they use to. I guess these times have effected everyone in a familt structure sort of way.

      Here in Sweden they joke about the lack of traditional family life. They say, “In Sweden it use to be the average family had 3.7 kids per parents. Now every kid has 3.7 parents.

  3. Michele you can come live with me. We can expand the roadside vegetable garden and build you a fancy shed to live in. I can cook when someone bosses me around in the kitchen.

    Oh what I would give for a good chef for my fine produce.

  4. Christopher C, that is the nicest offer I’ve had in years!

    Don’t be surprised if I show up some day with my wheelbarrow and food processor.

  5. When my kids were small we didn’t have the space or time for a big vegetable garden. However, we did drive out to Michigan and pick strawberries, blueberries, and apples. When we returned, we would all work on making jam and pies, then enjoy a dinner with fresh sweet corn and salads we had brought back with us from roadside stands. These were some of the best memories for both us and our kids.

  6. I’m not sure that such delicious eating communes are far off. As so many people are getting older and thinking about the supports they will need and want as they get still older, some are thinking about ways to live in community/commune arrangements. And the people I know who are thinking along those lines are all serious cooks and eaters.

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