While we were on vacation in Canada, I had the opportunity to do some cherry picking and farmer’s market browsing with my sister. I was in heaven the entire time. My girls love cherries (almost as much as their momma) and we all got our fill. I was in awe at the Vernon farmer’s market. Everything looked delicious and fresh and clean. I wanted to sample every berry and carrot I saw. We came away with some delicious baby carrots, peas, raspberries, and beets. I try not to be too jealous of those of you who have direct access to such amazing fresh produce that is locally grown. My own garden is doing rather well, considering it’s my first attempt. I planted peas, carrots, beets, spinach, and kale. Not much variety, but something to start. Some weird tiny bugs absolutely demolished the kale. They didn’t touch anything else, but the kale was all but destroyed. I was able to harvest a few of the tiny leaves before the bugs found them, but that was it. The spinach did well, but I learned a few things for next year. My peas are ready right now, and are delicious! I picked a big handful today and will get the rest in a day or two. The beets and carrots have a ways to go, but I think I’ll pick out some of the beets to do baby beets roasted sometime this week. Mmmm . . . my mouth waters just thinking about it, I LOVE beets. Cooked the right way, they are probably my favorite vegetable. But I hate them pickled. Go figure.
My first little gardening experience has taught me a lot. I want more variety, for one. Next year I’ll try some “warmer” crops, even though we’re at such a high elevation. If people in Russia can grow tomatoes, I should be able to! I also learned that my garden needs to be closer to my house. We put it behind the actual yard (which is 3 acres) to try it out and see what worked before placing boxes all over the lawn. It was hard to keep an eye on it and keep it watered. I worried that deer would get to it, but they haven’t touched it (yet). All in all, it’s been great to grow my own food and I can’t wait to try those beets.
Even though I don’t live next to a great farmer’s market like the one pictured above, there are options available almost everywhere. It takes more effort to find great local produce, but it can be done. You can taste the difference in your food when it’s locally grown. I hope my children know the pain of working all day bent over in the garden. That pain is worth it when you taste the fresh peas or new potatoes on the dinner table. My family grew up gardening and all the work really does pay off not only immediately, but all winter long if you preserve your food.
Here is my challenge: find your local farmer’s market. Buy some fresh produce. Let your children taste new carrots instead of those baby ones in the bag. Get the most out of this beautiful summer season by treating yourself to the best possible food available.
If you have any gardening tips for me, I’d love to hear them.