Disclaimer: watermelon came from a farm
Food is key to the human experience. We base our social rituals around food. Food is linked to our emotional state and to our physical health. I am both blessed and cursed to live in a place and time of plenty, when a person of moderate means can consume whatever they choose from a staggering variety of foods that would be unheard-of delicacies in ages past. So many of the important traditions of my own life hinge around foom, from the Jewish sacrament of Bagels and Lox to courting the shy seventeen year-old-girl who would later become my wife over Icees, sitting on the bumper of my car in the parking lot of Rita's Market in Roseburg.
Somewhere along the line, though, one food became holy above all others. I don't remember exactly when it was that I learned the ritual, but I remember watching my mother perform it. The way she lightly toasted the bread, spread the mayo, just so, then carefully sliced those beautiful red round globes onto the bread and added a dusting of salt and pepper. I don't know what possessed me to finally take up her offer of a bite, but from that moment I was hooked. The tomato sandwich has been the fuel of this dream.
Of course there are other holy practices in my garden these days. Another motivator is watching my kids interract with their food.
I think my kids enjoy digging up potatoes more than playing with any of their many toys. Nobody ever told them it wasn't supposed to be fun. Somebody told me once, but I guess I'm just contrary enough not to have been convinced.
Our kids have a deep connection to where their food comes from. We're not perfect, of course -- our kids still go nuts for a box of macaroni and cheese with a cartoon character on the front. But it's just a part of life for them to travel to one of our wonderful local farms and spend a day picking and playing. To run out into the garden to get ingredients for dinner. Or to watch Dad slave over a hot stove for hours to make the jam that they will eat all year.
The closer I am to my food, the more I enjoy it. And, for the most part, fresher food is tastier. By growing close to where I consume my food, I add a lot of enjoyment to my life, and I want to bring a bit of this to other people. I want to find ways to bring delicious food to more people, and to me, that means doing it close to where they live. I've got lots of ideas and I look forward to sharing them with you soon!