My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Yard Food

One of the nice things about living back in the South is the plethora of food growing in and around most older neighborhoods. Now I know that in this age of supermarkets and drive-thrus, it seems strange to be eating something that hasn’t been touched by someone else first, but I love eating from the garden and the yards around me.

This week I was proud to find a couple of apple trees in a field down the street. The older gentleman who lives in the adjacent house said that I could pick as many as I wanted because most of the apples just fall and rot before he can pick them up. So we’ve now struck a deal where I pick a basket for me and one for him too. Add this to the garden full of tomatoes, herbs, and lettuce, PLUS the farmers market that is open twice a week with locally grown everything, AND on Saturdays there is a large flea market with small regional farms, and a good portion of what we eat is almost out of people’s backyards!

My favorite thing from the garden is something that we call Herb’s Salad. It is a combination of whatever vegetables have been culled from the garden, with a generous handful of whole-leaf thrown in. When you add things like full basil leaves, a large sprinkling of tiny thyme leaves, and cilantro leaves, the aromatics are enough to flavor the salad more than and heavy dressing ever could impart.

I don’t think that we as a country take advantage of the areas in which we can grow a stable of our own food. During WWI and WWII the American people were asked to grow Victory Gardens because of the increased pressure on the countries food supplies. An unexpected outcrop of these gardens was a large increase in countrywide moral. Everyone with access to some sunlight and enough room for a pot could grow most garden vegetables. During WWII 20 million Americans had a Victory Gardens and they accounted for 40% of all the vegetable produce being consumed nationally.

So in a time where we are all looking to reduce our carbon footprint, eat healthier foods grown locally, planting your own garden (even if it is a pot for tomatoes or some herbs near a window), is an easy, cheap, and deliciously rewarding way to make a real difference.

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