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Random Act of Kindness & a Bowl of Corn Chowder

The rain had finally stopped and the sun was showing its face for the first time all day. Adam and I packed up our computers and walked to our van in the parking lot of the Jackson Whole Grocer, where we had been using Wi-Fi all day. As we hopped in the van and were about to turn the key in the ignition, there was a knock on the window. A young girl, probably about the same age as Adam and I, wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and a trucker hat stood outside. Adam opened the driver’s side door.

“Hey, are you guys living in your van?” the girl questioned.

The reality of van life is that you always have to be cautious about what you tell strangers, especially when you spend a fair number of nights parked and sleeping in random parking lots around town. Did she work at the Whole Grocer? Did she think we were going to sleep here tonight? Was she going to yell at us? As these thoughts ran through our minds, they must have been written all over our faces as well, because she quickly started explaining.

“I’m just wondering because I work on an organic farm over the pass in
Idaho. I have a truck full of extra veggies. I’ve been traveling and bike touring as well as living out of my truck up until recently. I know how much I IMG_3617appreciated it when people gave me free food during that time so I just wanted to pay it forward and hopefully help you guys out a little. If you would use and enjoy some veggies I can load up a bag for you.”

Adam and I looked at each other in excitement. Of course we wanted a bag of fresh, local vegetables for free! I gave the girl a bag and when she handed it back she explained everything within: lettuce, spinach, green onions, garlic, collared greens, and radishes. We couldn’t thank her enough!

“No problem,” she told us. “Just be sure to enjoy them!”

Corn Chowder

4 tbsp. olive oil

2 cups onion (diced)

2 carrots (diced)

5 cups vegetable broth

4 gold potatoes (diced)

2 cans corn

1 1/2 cups almond cream

a pinch of black pepper


Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are tender. With the back of a spork, smash some potatoes to thicken the soup. Add the corn and almond cream. Season with black pepper to taste and simmer 15 more minutes.


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