I grew up in a rural area. Many of my relatives were active farmers and cattlemen (or both), full or part-time. My parents and grandparents always had large gardens during those formative years. Summers included lots of time spent planting, hoeing, picking, shelling, washing, peeling, canning, freezing. I was never required to do hoeing or picking, though, because the adults were afraid I would “get on a snake.”
I didn’t mind being excluded from working in the garden, of course, because the garden was hot, sticky, and usually featured flying bugs of some type that were beyond annoying. As I grew older, my preferred chore was mowing the grass. We had a huge yard (as in a couple of acres) and a riding mower, so I took advantage of lawnmower time for extra sun-tanning.
The upside to growing up this way is that meals were usually home-cooked and were always heavy on the veggie side. Since we’re all influenced by the food we eat as children, I prefer home-cooked meals and fresh vegetables from the garden.
It’s sad that so many children (and teens) have no idea where food comes from and can’t tell a tomato from a potato from a peach. It’s equally sad that parents and school food-service-adminstrators think manufactured, breaded potato-like substances (known as Tater Tots or something like that) count as vegetables.
I consider myself fortunate to have parents who love veggies, who love to cook and eat veggies and who are willing to put in the hard work of growing food for their family.
I know where food comes from: Seeds, dirt, sun, water and the labor of a gardener, a farmer or a farm-worker.
Lots of tomatoes (40 plants, give or take a few)
Yellow and zucchini squash
Peppers of all types, shapes and sizes (we love peppers)
Lots of corn
Purple hull peas (these may also be known as “pink eye peas”)
Pole beans planted in the corn, but I’m told it’s not doing well
My own backyard garden isn’t quite so impressive, but I’m getting tomatoes (one or two per day now), a couple of squash plants have finally started to produce and I have a few tiny, baby cucumbers. One bell pepper. Waiting on the pepper plants to get down to business! I have more than a few tomato plants, so if they make it through the drought and heatwave I hope to be awash in Cherokee Purples by mid-July.