Food

Fresh Fridays: A little dirt don't hurt

Canadian Living
Food

Fresh Fridays: A little dirt don't hurt

After weeks of waiting, I finally had a small bunch of tiny carrots and few handfuls of freshly picked greens – the first harvest from my very first garden. So why was I hesitant to eat them?

I grew up in rural Ontario, where a summer’s day of play also included a tiptoe into the strawberry patch to nab a few tiny berries, bursting with flavour (and a little crunch of dirt). But as I’ve moved to a more urban space, that closeness to the earth has slipped away, replaced by trips to the farmer’s market when possible, but mostly to the grocery store. So when I learned that my city was opening its first community garden, I had to give it a try.

The tomatoes are just appearing, the peppers are blossoming and the onions are working their magic underground. The carrots look ready, but the few I've tested are a bit on the thin and chewy side. The only thing I’ve got in abundance is lettuce.

I was really surprised to find that it took some willpower for me to take a bite of the first leaf I picked. Mass-produced store-bought vegetables have conditioned me to think that the homegrown version is inferior, doesn’t taste “right” – just doesn’t compare. But oh, the first nibble of that spicy green leaf has left me a convert! I've started to incorporate it into more meals (try Roast Salmon on Greens With Lemon Chive Dressing) and my husband has even started having salad for lunch. (Now that's saying something.) Now my goal is to make sure my two-year-old son grows up understanding the connection between dirt and the food he eats. It's going to take some work. We hid a piece of garden-fresh lettuce under the ketchup in his hamburger the other night, hoping he wouldn't notice. But he did.

"Leaf," he said, holding up the offending vegetable. I explained that yes, it was a leaf of lettuce, which he should eat. "Leaf?" he said again, looking at me like I was crazy. Yes, I told him, it's lettuce. It's not the same as the maple leaves outside. You eat it. Then he shouted "Leaf!" and threw it on the floor. I might have to find a cookie tree for the spring planting season.    
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Fresh Fridays: A little dirt don't hurt

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