There are no tags on these beauties as they pop out of the ground, dangle from recently bloomed flowers, or before your very eyes tiny peppers morph into bigger than your hands delectable vegetables.
I have been staring at this sink full of lettuce. A basket full of harvest. Tonight, while the three boys are tucked away in bed, I can’t help but glance at it, knowing that it’s more than a bushel of food. Of vegetables that no one could have paid me to eat when I was a kid.
This food we anticipated for celebrates the memories of our growing boys, the abundance at the community garden, and growing gosh darn good food!
Today we ate fruits and vegetables that came all the way from Argentina, Canada, Chile, Mexico, and Washington. They were tended by someone else’s hands. I scrubbed them, cantaloupe skins and all, I don’t really know where they come from. How long did that take to get to my kitchen table!?
I used to think this was absolutely nasty. Just the sight of dirt on a vegetable would gross me out. And the taste of a vegetable!? I used to stuff brussel sprouts (or any vegetable really) in my sleeves and then excuse myself to the bathroom just to avoid this particular food.
Sometimes I ask myself if I could really be dedicated and disciplined to own a farm. Or at least a big vegetable plot. However, this is what I dream of, aspire for. And yet I still fall back in the ideas and habits of this furious distracted life. Convenience. But mostly barbecue chips. I know that this is only my second year of sustainable vegetable gardening, but I tell you what. It has changed me. Watching the process of life weave itself before you, you respect food in a different way. You cook differently. Now I feel deep remorse (I know it’s silly) for not respecting our harvests, being mindful to wash and store them properly. It is seriously hard to watch a vegetable go bad when you grow it. For me, this is a good thing. To learn how to be conscious of waste, be creative, resourceful, and mindful. Growing our own food motivates me to cook healthy, to accept other alternatives that I am used to. By no means do I have it all down. I have so much to learn in this infantile phase and I welcome with arms wide open ways of treating this temple good.
A neighbor really encouraged me with her words and a few ideas from urban books she rented from the library. Be content with what you have been given, and make the most of what you have. Even if it is a balcony filled with cherry tomatoes. Shop local. And enjoy friends.
No matter where I go. I will be growing.