Finally, a broccoli harvest. That damned Rod Stewart song rang through my head when I was picking it: “Tonight’s the night!”
I think one of the major reasons I grow my own food is that the gardens are a veritable treasure trove of tales.
Think about it: does your dinner have a story to tell? I could bore people silly with my veggies’ tales! (And sometimes I do: you all have been recipients of a couple snoozers, surely.) But mostly, it’s the stories I tell myself. I will pull a particular bag of produce out of the freezer, or a jar of something off the shelf, and I will be reminded of its growth, of its harvest. Of how many tries it took me to actually grow something, of how puny the harvest was, or how bountiful (remembering well when I thought I could not. possibly. eat. another. tomato. last summer).
And then there’s the anticipation of a harvest that really makes a meal wonderful. I have some piracicabia and calabrese broccoli ripening in the greenhouse. When I finally harvested my first batch of it, I was a happy person.
Or then there’s the joy of the happy accident. Some of my best melons and squash were found in or near the compost heap. There’s the wonder I feel when I first pull the tiniest of potatoes from the warm earth. There’s the shock I feign when I learn my father-in-law is prone to cadging a few peas out of the garden when we aren’t home. There’s the shock people express when I bring them something and they seriously cannot believe that I grew it.
There’s the joy I have in taking people on tours of the garden and assuring them that, yes indeed, that really IS the way Brussels sprouts look when they grow.
So, yes, I’m a gardener, first of all, because I love to eat good food. I swear to you, though, the stories are a close second.