Earth Day has evolved for me over the years. I used to spend my time cleaning out my flower beds. I’ve planted trees, shrubs, and flowers on this day. This year I seem to be on a mission to augment as much of my food supply as I can with things that I’ve grown. This Earth Day week will be spent in prep for the vegetable and fruit growing season. Seeds will be started and although it seems late to some I can’t plant ANYTHING until Memorial Day in Rowe. There is still snow on the ground and the entire back forty was completely frosted this morning.
I want everyone to know the feeling you have when you eat or serve a meal with food that you have grown. You know everything about this food. You may have nurtured it from seeds or have seen it eating grass on a sunny hill. You have watered and fed and cooed over these plants and animals. You have planned and brought these home grown ingredients together into something that is fabulously delicious in its own time.
Years ago (really not that many) people ate what was in season. You didn’t eat tomatoes in January unless they were the “hot house” variety that completely lacked in both taste and nutrition. Vegetables were not flown in from Argentina or California during the winter. The cycle of meals had everything to do with what was ripe at the time or food that you had put up and was in your cellar or freezer. Growing up I remember my aunt and cousins staying with us when the garden was really beginning to produce. For lunch each day there would be sandwiches made with the freshest of tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. A platter just laid out with the bounty of summer, a taste that can not be replicated in any way other than to pick the produce, slice it up and eat it within minutes. I understand what it’s like to share the food that I have grown with the people I love. Hard work goes into it but it’s worth it when you see the look on someones face that is eating a particular plant for the first time or an old familiar one that tastes completely different because it is so fresh.
This year I think everyone should at least put a tomato plant in a pot of soil on their patio or steps or yard. Throw in a few basil seeds for good measure. This is sooo inexpensive to do and you will be paid back ten fold in something that you can not buy, the true taste of summer.