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
. 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
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
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
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.