It’s heartening and touching to learn that my husband, Kevin, and I have connected with so many people — it’s almost as satisfying as sitting around a table sharing food and conversation.
I was even more moved to hear last week that we inspired a fellow gardener to amp up her game this past season. She told me that reading about our project motivated her and her husband to install raised beds and to teach herself to can.
She was pleasantly surprised at how well plants grew in the beds — she harvested zucchini well into October and had plenty of broccoli, started from seed outside. The beds kept the garden kempt — and made fall cleanup a breeze.
I found myself nodding and grinning at each of her points.
But her joy at successfully canning matched our own. As a grown woman with grandchildren, she had impressed herself by learning this new skill that once was relatively ubiquitous.
After the first few triumphs, she felt compelled to visit a nearby produce auction, where she bought large quantities of tomatoes and peppers and other vegetables. Like us, she tried various recipes just to see what they’d be like.
I recognized the pride and sense of accomplishment she felt, when she described how thrilled she feels at the sight of all those colorful jars in the cupboard — and how comforting it is to know that there’s food set aside for winter.
Grocery stores stocked with a cornucopia of edibles may be just a short drive away, but filling the cart and piling bags into the back seat is no match for the satisfaction that comes from picking, handling and processing your own food.
It’s been a fascinating journey of discovery, exploring this primal relationship with what we eat. We’ve found that even when we “out-source” what’s on our plates — pick-your-own blueberries or sweet corn from the farmers market — we’re more apt to think about where it was grown and how. It doesn’t mean we never indulge in convenience foods — just that we’re keenly aware when we do.
At the heart of this project, though, is a deepening connection to that most basic of needs — our food.
And, it was gratifying to hear someone else exploring a similar path.