Using It Up

Dinner July 13, 2019

The challenge for a gardener is to use or preserve the abundance in a way that makes sense.

At the beginning of a gardener’s life-long journey, what that means is not clear. Clarity approaches as our interaction with a kitchen garden matures, planting to meet the anticipated demands of modern living — season by season, meal by meal.

Gardening is as much about cooking and eating as it is about genetics, crop inputs, pest control and horticulture.

Saturday morning I made more basil pesto to freeze and started the first batch of dill pickles. Friday I pickled beets and dried parsley for the cupboard.

The photo represents dinner last night. The veggie burger and ketchup are processed foods and the vegetables are locally sourced. I grew the squash and peas, a farmer friend grew the onion and carrots. It was a satisfying, seasonal meal. Cooking techniques developed through years of practice and study made it possible to reduce the amount of time needed to prepare these dishes. At the end of the day, this meal was nothing, a throw-off addressing our need to eat. This meal was also everything.

People frequently post photos of their meals and we enjoy viewing them on social media. It is a natural impulse that say what I’ve done has meaning beyond a single meal or dish. In a search for truth and meaning in life eating is important, or as my colleague at the orchard Matt Steigerwald said, “food is important.”

Like so many things in life it reduces down to the question what will I do with my life today? Living with a kitchen garden and enjoying its production is one important thing among others.

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