Our bookgroup just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. We had a lively discussion as we sat drinking local wine from Eleven Winery in my friend's garden. The book follows Kingsolver's family for one year as they promise to eat only from local farms and their own garden. Kingsolver's daughter and husband both contribute to the book adding fresh perspectives. I especially appreciated college-age Camille's take on the whole experiment. The recipes she included sound delicious and the nutrition-related information was great.
I have always appreciated the hard work that goes into growing healthy, organic food but Kingsolver really emphasized the human face behind each bite. Reading the book reminded me of my childhood growing up on a small, strawberry farm. It brought back memories of getting up at 6 a.m. all through strawberry season to pick the berries before it got too hot. My grandmother also had a farm closeby so we grew up eating everything in season. I am still sorry that I didn't take advantage of her gardening knowledge before she passed away.
You can see from the photo above that our raised garden beds spend most of their time as a play area for trucks and imaginary digs to Antarctica. Kingsolver's book has not only inspired me to learn more about growing my own food but to grow the disappearing varietals she mentioned. And I realize that with two small kids I still won't have time to grow enough food to feed our family all season so I plan to buy a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share next spring to make up the difference.
One of the moms at bookgroup had us laughing when she told us about her trip to the toyshop last week. She kept telling her daughter all winter when she asked for strawberries that they couldn't buy them as they weren't in season. So as the little girl, who is three, perused the toys she asked "mommy, are cuddly toys in season"?