Plant a seed, and reap way more than a vegetable!

Right now I have the presence of two organic farmers in one of my business groups. My ‘clients’ cover just about the entire business spectrum as pro-active individuals who are starting and growing businesses. These two women and their husbands take ‘growing a business’ to a new level!

We got talking on Tuesday night about organic food.

It was an interesting conversation and it took me back to the crazy, hectic days of our wonderful house on Penetang St with its huge back yard (try finding a new lot that measures 66 by 225 feet) and its home built playground equipment and its absolutely enormous vegetable garden.

With Reg and Norma Pratt on one side and Julie and Walter Zieba on the other, my first husband and I managed to start a very successful compost area, and plant a garden that fed us year round. Rows and rows and rows of every vegetable you can imagine sprouted up in our soil, nurtured by heaven’s water and nature’s fertilizer.

Those were the days when we blanched and froze vegetables, when everything on our table was ‘pure.’

The thing was then that this didn’t seem particularly unusual. It’s just what we did.

It was affordable. It was do-able. We had land. It made sense.

When each kid reached about 3 they got their own plot of land. Exciting was the time when they got to pick their own beans or pull their own carrots or dig up their own potatoes. They learned about the magic beneath the earth and the power of being patient. Funny thing, 28 years later, kid one is excited about the vegetable garden he and his wife have planted… so I guess it sticks!

Anyway, the conversation on Tuesday centred around the slow food movement, the benefits of vegetables that are grown organically, not genetically modified so that every carrot tastes the same. We talked about these two farms, Edencrest and Whispering Pines, and their vegetable basket programs and the enthusiasm of their customers.

Liz said that last year her customers would show up at the farm to pick up their vegetable basket and ask if they could help pick their own veggies the next week.

When you think about it, kids today mostly don’t know where beets or carrots come from. They think they come from the counter in the grocery store and get rained on by sprinklers in the ceiling. And with our Saturday farmers’ market at City Hall, and the newly emerging map by Simcoe County Farm Fresh, and the farmers market on Wednesdays at RVH, and the interest in eating food that’s been grown within 100 miles of home… well, it’s all just better.

As I listened to Liz and Maureen and tucked a dozen eggs from young, growing hens into my bag, it felt good to look back on the 70’s and 80’s and our wonderful backyard garden.

I think I’m going to get some lettuce and green onion seeds and stake a few tomato plants in our new backyard and see if we’ve still got the touch!

Thanks, Liz. Thanks, Maureen. And to all those farmers who know about slow food, we are grateful!