The first time I walked into the Trading Post in Paonia I couldn’t help but utter a little gasp. I had some trouble at the local grocery store when searching for cardamom to put in my peach pie (and had to do without). I couldn’t understand why a hippie town like Paonia lacked a good health food store. Of course, I simply hadn’t found it yet. When I did finally find the Trading Post I was instantly smitten with the jars upon jars of bulk spices.
Alex, Sara and I returned to the Trading Post for lunch on our last day in Paonia. A small side door in the store opened up into a large wooden room filled with people sitting, eating, and conversing at round tables. A woman in the corner played traditional violin tunes under the chatter of voices. Every Sunday, all of the produce that they are unable to use/sell/eat gets cooked into a delicious lunch feast for the community. This week the menu included carrot/sweet potato bread, beet soup, vegetable medley, and kale and peach smoothies!
The best part of this gathering of people breaking bread together is that Sunday lunch is by donation only!
I have a hard time describing why this simple community meal is so heart filling for me. It has to do with the coming together over food, the bounty that the soil provides, the waste that inevitably happens, and the community I’ve yet to find. This Sunday, I found joy in something so damn simple yet quite unexpected and rare.