If you would have told me 5 years ago, that I would be growing food. And not just food, but vegetables I would have laughed. Just ask my family. When I was a little girl, I was the most picky stubbornly annoying eater. I detested cheesecake because the idea of cheese and sugar was repulsive (although I never tried it until the age of 19). I was shamefully embarrassed that day.
I did like dill pickles dipped in peanut butter though. Okay. That is the most embarrassing published confession yet. I know it is a nasty idea. That’s exactly why I stopped eating it. Because I was tired of hearing all the horrifying gasps others made when they saw me dipping….
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
I would have mockingly laughed at this quote three years ago. Frankly, before I just simply would not have understood it. Or cared really.
Bringing home these baskets of fresh vegetables that my family has watched from seed to completion is really changing the way I see food. As time progresses I am beginning to realize that just as healthy food nourishes my body. Growing it, nourishes my soul.
The unfamiliar vegetables are a sense of therapy in this season of my life. I am a young mother of three young boys, each day stretches me to adapt myself to being a good mother for them as individuals. Although being incredibly outnumbered of the male vs. female ratio- I am, just like in the garden, willing to be open to test and trial. Fail. And success. Although I don’t know how to make the best paper airplane, I can learn.
When the family is in the garden, life pauses for a moment. Pretty soon you start to see the subtle things. Like watching a little bitty bush bean become something before your eyes. Or how it feels to pull a onion by its head, and take in the rich aroma. To step back in wonder, and give thanks. Instead of seeing it as defeat of why the celery is turning yellow, to instead turn and face the challenge of life with confidence. To research. To find out.
As a mother, I am so self-engraved with the idea of cherishing this moment in time. “They will be big one day, you know” is a common expression in public. I completely get it.
Thankfully, this isn’t the point of gathering each moment into the most perfect way imaginable and tying it with a bow. Or playing out my life in the form of a script. The garden is not perfect. But it still strives and overcomes.
With each day, life around the garden has changed dramatically. I am introduced to strange things like kohlrabi. And I like it.
Kohlrabi is the oddest vegetable I have ever seen. Hearing the snap of the roots as I pull out the plant was the sweetest sound to my ears. The appreciation that I have gained for the process of life for this one food item, makes me want to find the tastiest recipe.
Being conscious of not wasting our food supple is the most pressing change I am adapting to. The vibrant red and yellow color of the Swiss Chard inspires me to stretch myself in creative ways to cook it. However, I am still left with wondering what to do with it. Sometimes I want to hide in my old identity, of not accepting change/and or realizing that good things take hard work. And time. But it all is really worth it. My family of five can travel .7 miles away to our food supply. Where we can invest in our plot as a family, and reap the joy of sweet satisfaction of using our own hands to create something magnificent together. There is no thought to where these vegetables grew. Or how long I need to scrub to wash off the pesticides.
Initially, I want to hesitate and stare at the growth of the garden and day dream of the beauty of it all. To get lost in imagining what the tomato plant will look like in a month, wondering what others will cook with their harvest, the different perspectives of each life…. And then reality hits me. When the garden grows, you can not hesitate to pick when ready. No longer can I take small amounts of spinach and Swiss chard, thinking this time with last forever. When the plant begins to bolt (which I had no idea what this meant until recently), the taste changes and goes bitter. Because of this artist induced procrastination of being more obsessed with the growth and beauty- the endive was not good. Very bitter.
The zucchini are producing fruit beyond my expectations. When my family first started this journey we brought over this Black Beauty Zucchini, it was so little. And now it can not be tamed. At the Andres’ Community garden everyone has an equal share of the community areas. The bush beans are secretly awaiting our discovery. The beans are tucked behind the leaves, and if I wasn’t paying attention I would miss out on these sweet and crunchy wonders. The abundance of the food supply at the garden has me striving for new recipes, advice to keep the produce fresh and last longer, and tending the garden well. To cherish.
A link of a video of this amazing journey at the Andres’ Community Garden