denesse Willey, I don’t know you but I love you. You have made such a difference in my life. When I began to order a weekly box of produce from your farm in Madera, I didn’t know that inside each box would come a printed sheet that would add flavor, good health and fun to my table. I don’t know why you generally use a lower case for your first name, but such is my respect for your foodly advice, I assume you have well-thought out reasons for everything you do.
If I made good use of the vegetables in the CSA (community supported agriculture) box from your farm, you can take the credit. You sent me produce, but you also sent me directions for their use. Otherwise, when orange beets arrived, I might have decorated my porch with them. When okra showed up uninvited one week, I might have given them to the neighbor’s dog, instead of adding them to my veggie saute. The recipes that you sent along with the harvest from your farm gave me instructions and encouragement and, most of all, success.
I have moved away from your neighborhood but if I could still have your Willey boxes delivered to my home, I would. I still buy fresh and local, but no one gives me kitchen clues as you did. Today, I dug out my collection of your recipes, delivered with each of the boxes I had received, and once again felt the love. Kholrabi hash browns and Cajun Okra, here I come.
I’ve moved away from you, denesse, but others now join me in owing you a debt of loving gratitude. Here on the central coast, when I buy fresh basil, the local farmer has you to thank. If the young fellow who sells the world’s sweetest carrots at my local farmer’s market thanks his lucky stars, you, denesse, are one. Since that first Willey box, I am now committed to purchasing local produce, from fresh herbs at the market to my beloved local raw honey, you get the credit for starting me on that path. Stanley, especially, owes you a grateful nod for the sweet and sour stir fry that often fills his plate.
I send you my love and gratitude, denesse, and hope there are many more Marshas in your world today.