Kermit may have said it best when he said, “Its not easy being green.” Sure, he was talking about being a frog, not making a conscious effort to be environmentally friendly, but its true for both. For example, growing a garden for someone like myself, that can kill the heartiest of plants, is a major challenge. Add to the mix the soaring temperatures in Houston, a small yard with either too much sunshine or too much shade, and two dogs that will eat or tear up anything, and you see what I’m battling when it comes to gardening.
When we were kids, my parents had a nice garden that we worked in and planted together. We grew corn, okra, black-eyed peas, butter beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and eggplant. There’s nothing like walking into your own backyard, picking a ripe tomato and then using it in a sandwich or eating it whole. Sometimes, we wouldn’t even wash the tomato before eating it, since we weren’t worried about pesticides or harmful chemicals. (As a matter of fact, Dad didn’t use much of anything, including fertilizer in the yard, unless you count burying our dead goldfish in the corn.)
In our garage, we had a freezer that was always full of frozen fresh veggies that we used throughout the year. I loved spending time with my Mom while shucking corn or shelling beans. Working in the yard was great quality time with the family that contributed to my love of fresh, seasonal veggies.
After trying to plant and grow veggies in our yard and failing multiple times, we try to buy the majority of our produce from local farmers markets and co-ops. We prefer to buy local produce for many reasons: to support our local community, to know where the fruit and vegetables come from, many times the prices are lower, the fruit and veggies are fresher and to reduce the amount of chemicals used on our food.
Do you grow your own fruits and veggies or try to shop local farmers markets? When I lived in South Carolina, we shopped at the huge farmers market in downtown Columbia at least twice a month. Living in Houston its been a little more challenging to find a farmers market that’s convenient to us. However, many restaurants feature locally grown produce on their menus at least once a week.
If you live in SoCal and enjoy good food, you should check out the Localicious Event at the Annenberg Community Beach House on Sunday November 4, 2012. The event will feature dishes prepared by 30 of LA’s Leading Chefs using produce from 30 Santa Monica Farmers Market farmers. Tickets are on sale now for $125 a person and net proceeds will benefit FamilyFarmed.org. Don’t miss out on an evening of delicious food, local wine and craft beers with live music under the stars.