Once Upon a Time

There is a lovely flood of produce from the gardens right now. Several days ago, basket on basket of broccoli needed to be processed. And now today it’s bushels of beans.


As I cut up all the broccoli, washed then steamed it, and finally packed it into bags for the freezer with my much used Farm Journal’s Freezing and Canning Cookbook at my side,

I couldn’t help thinking about how time consuming a process it is to be even a half baked localvore like I am.

You must have noticed by now how much I love harvesting all the things growing in the gardens and how much pleasure I get from big crops of this or that berry or squash. Though some tried, no one was ever able to take the peasant soul out of me. I am so glad of that because my daily life is right here in these gardens. And as this is where I am, it is a good thing I find such happiness in a large bowl of pie cherries or a freezer full of broccoli.

Yet even living here, right smack dab in the gardens and loving the whole process, it takes a lot of time to keep up with handling and preserving the flood of wonderful food this time of year.

As my own boss, I have the flexibility to spend a morning with the broccoli when the broccoli needs me to do so. I can structure my day so it can be a fun job versus one done at midnight after other things that had to come first. Our culture so vastly under appreciates what’s involved in food production that someone asking their boss for the morning off to freeze broccoli would probably be considered odd. I am sorry that for most people food production would be a joyless task hard to accommodate in an already packed life. I understand that food has been such a cheap commodity in the past few decades that no time is allocated in our culture for growing or harvesting it. Most of us have to spend our time earning money for things that cost more.

Perhaps as fuel prices drive up the price of all the cheap food imported to us from all over the planet, the economics will prove motivation enough for more of us to grow some of our own food, but I would like to see a world that was structured to carve out much more time for food growing and harvesting so that it could be a joyful activity not just an increasingly necessary one.

I don’t want everyone to have to return to growing broccoli as a tiresome necessity. In my dream world, people would have the time to love growing food. They would get a chance to discover it to be a joyful even miraculous activity connecting us to earth and to the ceaseless miracle of seeds that become plants that nourish our bodies and souls.

Okay, so I can dream……

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