Copyright © 2016 Julie A. Hogg All rights reserved. No portion, partial or entire, of the blog posts contained on the Alpharetta Post may be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the owner and writer.
About a decade ago I noticed the increasing interest in food gardens, in food, in agriculture. Having a love of the miracle (yes, miracle) of the seed that germinates into life, green and bountiful, that is to us a thing of art and survival at the same time, was as natural to me as breathing. And I take the idealistic approach that every person must surely have some wonder at the bean or grain or fruit that is our sustenance, although to be sure, not everyone wants to make a living at it. But anyone, Anyone, can taste a vegetable straight from the garden. Indeed, everyone should.
What happened in the early to mid 2000’s to make food – food, at its very elemental best and basic – become a thing that was noticed? What happened that catapulted “locally grown” to star status; or, to a lesser extent, “organic gardening”; defining many a restaurant even today? I only know that when you break off an asparagus shoot in the early spring and rush inside to rinse it (of bugs? of whatever…actually, I don’t rinse it) and then bite into it, the sound of your bite is like the bite of an apple – exceedingly crisp. And yet you barely have to chew it, it is so tender. And the taste is something that needs no salt, no hollandaise, no butter. It is asparagus! Oh, ye that do not know the wonder of asparagus! Pity thee! And then there’s this: because I love arugula (but, let’s say, you love any old red-leaf lettuce), I plant this beloved arugula (and you plant your red-leaf lettuce). And as soon as my arugula is big enough to eat, I can snap it off at the base and pop it in my mouth; something I often do. And it is better than any salad at any 4-star restaurant. It is the arugula leaf. It is your red-leaf lettuce. It is beyond good and no bagged salad can compare. Or consider the blueberry. Oh, the blueberry! Should you stroll by the blueberry bush you cannot resist taking the berry and eating it. It is perfect. It is blueberry as blueberry was meant to be.
Are these things that only the farmer knows? Is this some secret knowledge? Maybe. Do my own words and tastes reveal a palate that is the reflection of a mind that desires cultivation and knowledge and culture and beauty and high-mindedness? Is the farmer’s discriminating taste with regard to his carrots similar to the wine connoisseur who knows a good Chateau Margaux is no comparison to a sophomoric California red? Indeed.
The so – called “food movement” of the 2000’s is still going strong, although it has morphed somewhat and doesn’t have the New factor any longer. It is less about chemical-free, “organic” and more about local now. It is more about taste explosion and less about “in season”. It is nauseatingly more about kale than it ever should have been; although I will grant kale a 1st offender pardon. It didn’t ask to be the love-child of the 2000-teen’s. It was abused by non-originality. Poor kale.
There is so much yet to be worked out with regard to local agriculture and local food. That it is indifferent to BigAg speaks in its favor.
Those of us who know the beauty of it beg you to plant anything and taste it straight from your garden. We implore you to plant a fall crop of collards or lettuce or carrots. We know that if you will simply taste it as it was meant to be tasted that you will seek to imbibe always.
It’s time to plant the fall vegetable garden.