Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Tonight I planted out the eggplant seedlings and then made my way over to the strawberry patch. I stood out in the patch and ate strawberries for dinner and picked extra for dessert. Strawberries burst with the flavor of garden goodness. They represent all things good and sweet. If there was any thought about whether the long days of planting season are worth it, here come ripe strawberries to offer a little gift and perspective. A reminder that growing our own food is totally worth it.
A few years ago, we had two college summer interns who particularly appreciated the gifts from the garden. Lisa and Allison. I will never forget the expression on Lisa’s face when I would hand her a bowl and tell her to go harvest a salad and strawberries for lunch. Allison found her garden bliss when she tasted heirloom tomatoes on the farm. She thought she didn’t like tomatoes, until she ate an organic heirloom tomato in season. Lisa and Allison both keep the farm in their hearts and it has guided their next steps to some extent. Lisa went on to the Peace Corps in Senegal, where she’s been creating a women’s community garden. Allison has been recently accepted into a Masters program in Public Health at The University of Maryland. Allison says her internship on the farm opened her eyes to the power of making big change by growing local food in your community.
Allison and I were sitting in front of the hoophouse one morning last May. We had just enjoyed chocolate covered strawberries, freshly picked from the garden, dipped in chocolate and chilled. We were celebrating Allison’s college graduation. Michael, a farm customer and friend, stopped over to buy seedlings for his garden. He asked “How’s life?” I replied, “Well, we just had chocolate covered strawberries for breakfast, so life is good.” He looked at me blankly. “Really?” He chided. “Strawberries are your gauge of measurement? Not family health, school, job, general well-being?” Allison and I looked at each other in a moment of contemplation and then simultaneously shook our heads. “No, just strawberries.”
Strawberries can grow in a small patch or even a pot. Start yours this fall and enjoy strawberries in the spring and even more the following spring. Find your bliss in the garden.
Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods organic CSA farm with her husband in Frederick, Maryland. She blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life at blog.houseinthewoods.com, easy to follow from our Facebook Page. For more about the farm, go to www.houseinthewoods.com.