Stinging Nettles

Today I'm looking forward to our first CSA (community Sustained Agriculture) box.  I've been waiting, it seems, forever for the harvest to begin and for the fruit (veggies!) of the farm's labor to enter our diets.

This week we are getting: parsnips, sunchokes, chives, green garlic, overwintered spinach, black radishes, French breakfast radishes, sorrel and

stinging nettles.

Yes, stinging nettles.

I'm sure I can use that as a metaphor...or a sermon.

But, it's reminded my of the panini we enjoyed as children.  The panini (prickly pear cactus) appeared in literal islands of thorny cactus in my Tutu's pasture.  We used a tin can on a stick to pick the fruit.  My parents would then hose down the panini to get off most of the thorns and then peel and carefully examine the fruit for any thorns that may have been missed.

We lived in fear of having one of the long, sharp needles of the panini skewering our tongues.  It never happened, but we knew it was a possibility.

The panini were delicious...and our fear never kept us from devouring the sweet fruit.

Kind of like life, no?

The fruit is the red bulb on the side of the cactus "paddle"--if you want to pronounce panini correctly it's pie-neee-neee.  But, I'll try not to wince if you don't say it that way...


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