A prime reason being that he happened to have been born on a Friday the 13th. So, it’s understandable that we have traditionally held nothing against such a universally unloved figure.
But for myriad reasons, we’re looking forward to embracing a fresh start and bidding not-so-fair 2013 adieu.
As I look back, though, I find there are many things to cherish:
• Our first full crop of asparagus to chase away the winter blues
• Plenty of peas to satisfy the palate and even stock the freezer
• Sweet strawberries that, once thawed, are a heavenly reminder when snow blows that spring will indeed come again
• Perfectly timed sour cherry blossoms that yielded gallons of pie-luscious juice
• Neverending cilantro that just keeps re-seeding and adding zest to salads and salsas
• Tender beets without any effort, thanks to abundant rain in early summer
• Leafy basil and Italian parsley that’s now dried in jars, available to season sauces and soups
• After multiple attempts, finally success with Thai eggplant and bokchoy
• A modest crop of tomatoes, despite neglect, septoria leafspot, and encroaching neighborhood blight
• A canning cupboard overflowing with jars of grape, black currant and cherry juice
• Peppers. Peppers. And, more peppers. No matter what the weather conditions or orthopedic emergencies, I manage to have little trouble with peppers.
• The largest and best-tasting harvest of buttercup squash we’ve had
• Happy broccoli that fed on mineral-rich clay soil that I turned into the garden after digging a path last year
• More than a dozen pint jars of fiery roasted tomatillo salsa verde
• Loads of legumes — garbanzos, cowpeas, shell beans, 20-foot pole beans, edamame
Most of all, we’re grateful for yet another growing season that’s enriched our plates and our palates. Both of us are eating a wider variety of fruits and vegetables — some of which we’d never laid eyes on before: Celeriac, gooseberries, kohlrabi.
But, it’s the deepened connection to our food that’s enhanced our lives. It’s so satisfying to eat what was connected to the earth just moments before. Or, to see a full cupboard and freezer stocked with produce that we planted and tended and harvest and prepared.
It’s true soul food.
And, a priceless treasure.
That doesn’t mean we won’t wholeheartedly welcome 2014.