July 9, 2008

To the Farm, in dream if not reality

Hungarian Wax Peppers (rather chiles)

I've been living in suburbia and cities my whole life, with brief visits to the very rural part of Louisiana where my husband spent summers on his Uncle's farm. That hasn't stopped me from realizing that I've been bitten by the farm bug.

Maybe it happened because I love the country. Maybe it happened because the more I read about food production the more I realize that I want to have control over mine. Maybe it happened because I've always wanted to live in a zoo. I have no idea. However, I do know, that sometime in the future, I will have my farm. Until then, I will continue to learn what I can, dream what I may, and have fun with my garden.

I had this sort of surreal experience the other day. I was in Costco, and I discovered that they've created a huge walk-in cooler space for milk and eggs. So I walk through these plastic swinging door-thingies, and I'm in the cooler space, and it's quieter in there, and all around me on gleaming steel shelves are gallons of bright and shiny milk containers, and cartons of eggs, bundled two-by-two in plastic-wrap. As I picked up a gallon of milk and my hand closes around the cold, plastic handle, and grab a bundle of eggs that I couldn't even check to see if they were cracked, I just got this awful, bone-deep sensation of wrongness, of knowing that this was not natural, this was the farthest thing from natural, and with my skin crawling, just wondering what on earth was in this stuff? I started to balk, but unfortunately, or fortunately, or whatever, I sucked it up because where else am I going to get food? I vow, that someday soon, my food predicament will change. I vow that all my eggs are coming from my own happily scratching chickens, not stuffed and caged critters fed whatever crap makes them spit out the most eggs in the shortest amount of time without keeling over. And my milk will be from happy, pastured animals, chewing on whatever they chew on, the milk split between my family and theirs. Sigh..the dream.

The reality...I ate my first home-grown zucchini tonight...I should have taken a picture, but I didn't think about it. I cut it from the vine, cut it into sticks, dusted them in some flour, and fried it in olive oil. Sprinkle on the salt and my-oh-my. It was heavenly. The flavor was so mild, it was pure zucchini divinity. It really tasted different. Maybe because it ripened on the vine, maybe because there were no chemicals used in it's production, maybe it was the varietal. I really don't know the reason.

What I do know, is that I can't wait for my first yellow summer squash. I have one that's only a few days away. I have delicious, brightly colored swiss chard that I am starting to use in many different things. I also have young green tomatoes and baby eggplants growing. It's so exciting to see them start to produce fruit. Amazing!

My first real yield of anything was Hungarian Wax Peppers...they're really chiles. They are early producing here in the northeast, and prolific! I was very pleasantly surprised, they've gotten a big jump start over the sweet peppers I've planted, although the plants themselves look fairly identical. I've got tons of little babies after bringing in a bunch just a few days ago. They have a nice flavor, a grassy, sharp heat when raw, especially with the seeds, but mellower, losing that bright, sharp edge when cooked. I'm going to start pickling them. They seem like they would be perfect for it.

I'm sort of amazed at how much I am loving growing food! I love the planting, the watering, less keen on the weeding, but I know it's necessary, so I do it. I am eagerly awaiting the next fruit of the vine, so to speak. I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

Ranjeeta said...

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Nice collections