“Isn’t that the best feeling?” I replied, and we grinned knowingly at each other before I headed out the door.
He and his wife nurture a wide variety of vegetables, and he frequently gives me progress reports on their efforts, including cell phone images of towering tomato plants and tales of digging bushels-ful of potatoes. At the height of the season, they, too, eat beans and squash for almost every meal.
But trying to assuage a weary palate in late summer can’t begin to detract from the utter satisfaction of eating what you grew yourself.
On the surface, the concept seems rather silly, but, somehow, when the ingredients were tended and harvested by your own hands, food just tastes better.
It could be because most of the time the produce is fresher, but I think the very process creates an inherent psychological connection to what we’re consuming. The sense of ownership, control and accomplishment enhances the flavor.
There’s a wow factor: I grew this. And now I’m eating it.
I picked the first of this fall’s crop of broccoli the other night for a stir-fry my husband, Kevin, was making, and couldn’t resist nibbling the raw stalk after trimming off the florettes for the pan. It was so sweet I couldn’t stop myself, happily chomping away until we dished up our bowls.
And dinner itself was just as gratifying: A delectable mix of locally grown onions sautéed with our own bok choy, carrots, broccoli and summer squash, then served over hearty brown rice.
The night before, I’d augmented leftover lentils by simmering locally grown onions with our own carrots, zucchini and a minced hot pepper in homemade chicken broth seasoned with our own basil and other herbs for a simple, but oh-so-tasty soup.
And the night before that, it was a different blend of vegetables transformed into a chunky pasta sauce: Locally grown onions with our own tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, zucchini, garlic and basil.
We find that anything we create — soups, stir-fries, sauces, salads, desserts — is just that much more fulfilling by the inclusion of vegetables, fruits and berries we cultivated ourselves.
Truth be told, we love sitting down to any meal and assessing how much of it came from our own garden. Because when you’re eating what you’ve grown, it’s the best feeling!