Friday, March 26, 2010

Locavore's Seder

Monday at sundown marks the start of the Jewish festival of Passover, when Jews the world over celebrate the exodus from Egypt. The centerpiece of the celebration is a ceremonial meal know as Seder, during which the Passover story is told.
While food customs vary regionally, the ceremonial foods on the central Seder plate are the same. Traditionally, four questions are asked at the Seder meal. I'm adding a fifth: How can we localize this meal?

On the Seder plate:
Zeroah, a lamb's shankbone symbolizing the ancient Passover sacrifice. Easy. Minnesota growers like Blue Gentian Farm raise lamb.
Beitzah, a roasted egg symbolizing the temple sacrifice and the continuing cycle of life. Also easy, via local farms like Sleeping Cat Farm and Bar 5.
Haroset, a paste of fruit and nuts symbolizing the mortar used to build the pyramid of the pharaohs. If you preserved any Minnesota apples last fall, easy. The nuts -- not so easy. Sweetened with Ames Farm honey, delicious.
Mar'or, a bitter herb (like horseradish) to represent the bitterness of slavery. Sara Rice, who writes the Noshin' column at TCJewFolk, reminds us that while horseradish is the most potent, any bitter herb will do. Dehn's Garden Arugula, perhaps?
Karpas, a green vegetable (usually parsley) representing spring. Any green vegetable will do. Romaine, endive, asparagus; or watercress from Dehn's Garden
A bowl of salt water. With 10,000 lakes, water we've got.

Four cups of wine are drunk through the meal, and while Minnesota does have wineries, none produce wine that is Kosher for Passover. And as for matzo, the unleavened bread eaten during the entire week of Passover, you could make your own using Minnesota flour.

So tell us. What are you doing to localize your Seder?


Katie said...

Do any of the Asian-American farmers grow & store horseradish?

Or are we just looking at people coming to winter market to sell, anyway?

And maybe I'm getting my market vendors mixed up w/ my grocery store growers.

Susan Berkson said...


Good question. I haven't seen any veg farmers at winter market, though.