Saturday, August 7, 2010

I get it!

Remember reading in World History about how once people started growing crops/creating cities/creating a division of labor they didn't all have to spend all their time growing, preparing and preserving food? Even though by now I know that's an oversimplification, I did suddenly realize this afternoon that if you grow your own food, there must be times of year when you do nothing but those very things. This came to me when I worked over two hours peeling, chopping, picking, seasoning, blending and then cleaning up - and at the end admiring my three quarts of gazpacho, which I prepared for freezing. Gazpacho, however delightful, is not even a dense food that would sustain life for very long. If one were really living off one's own farm, there would already have been grains to winnow, bread to bake and chickens to slaughter! At the end of the day a person would be too footsore and weary to create art or ingenious inventions.

I remember reading Barbara Kingsolver's description in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle of this very time of year when tomatoes covered every free surface of their kitchen, and they had to work long into the evening getting them into sauces and canning jars before the pesky things rotted. I am a wimp, a mere dabbler who is thrilled to have harvested (and eaten immediately) my third tomato, but I've had a glimpse of what self-sufficiency might feel like. It would involve tired feet and sticky floors, for sure, and I bet some times when the whole batch failed or the pesky things did rot. But there still must be the awe that we had tonight, carving our tomato, that it actually grew from something we planted! And that in the dead of winter we will have gazpacho and blueberries and corn that didn't get shipped here from California in little plastic bags.

And it gives me vast respect for Jeremy and Aimee, Meg and Claire and all you out there who are filling your cans and freezers and your root cellars and will really live on those goodies, braving hard work now and sometimes monotony later.

(This fuzzy little image is of a tomato that came from the farmers market this morning with two little headlights growing out of its already interesting topknot. When it comes to growing veggies, homegrown is without a doubt more imaginative than mass produced.)


  1. Your back! You go girl, I agree whole heartedly. Lets look at what we are eating and how we can take better care of ourselves and our families!

  2. I LOVE the line about "hard work now and monotony later." Yeah, that kind of sums it up. =) But I guess you can live with the monotony because you know you're doing something good. And it forces you to be creative so there isn't so much monotony! =)