Monday, 5 August 2013

Harvest Thickens

We had another successful visit over the August long weekend:  a couple dozen cherry tomatoes; the usual abundance of lettuce; herbs; a couple of Brandy Wine tomatoes that have ripened; a pepper and a zucchini.

Our eating habits lend themselves well to a local diet so a harvest like this is not just a pittance in our food consumption. Last night, we made a dish of cooked lettuce and another of eggs and tomatoes and basil, with rice.  Now.  It can be tiresome hearing people insist that organic food just tastes better, more natural, more wholesome.  I've tended to brush this kind of talk off.  I've assumed that it was wishful thinking and that while fresh pesticide-free foods would be much healthier, they wouldn't necessarily taste any better than factory farmed vegetables.  But the tomato we used was infinitely better than any store-bought tomato I've used ever has been.  I don't expect that every time I eat produce I've grown myself that I will have this kind of reaction, but this is one that will stick.  For me, it is a new benchmark for what simple healthy food can taste like.

Without those moments, it might be easy to lose interest, especially when the imperative to grow my own food for survival isn't there, what with grocery stores packed full of food.  My grandparents ranched near Waterton, Alberta, raising sheep and growing vegetables and hay.  I've been told that my grandmother would get weary over the course of the winter, having to cook boiled cabbage and lamb for the hundredth time in a row.

The other image that comes to mind when I think of food scarcity is from The 100 Mile Diet, in which the authors find themselves at the end of a long weekend, out at their northern B.C. retreat, with no grocery store around and only a head of cabbage.  With this head of cabbage they struggle to entertain their guests, serving a fairly paltry locavore supper.

I'm not gunning for a subsistence life, but I would also like to be more involved in my own food production, to know the contents of my food beyond the country of origin label.