Beyond cooking recipes for this blog, I have to think back to the days growing up how food was abundantly crucial to our family. Not in the sense of oh my, we are starving- but in knowing the extremes and hard work it takes to provide food as a crop, a means of income. Growing up with family in the farming business was indeed a blessing in having a real life model of what determination and being accountable truly meant.
Even though my permanent address wasn’t the farm, it was always dubbed my second home. You learn a lot from your elders, especially those who decide to make their living from the ground up. Lessons were always taught simple but true, never go barefoot across the gravel drive, when picking raspberries to pick one (eat two), and most importantly you gotta get your hands dirty. But the biggest advice given by my grandfather was that the best job in life is being your own boss. Starting from the ground up with support from his own grandfather he started an apple orchard in Southwestern Michigan. How could he have known his dedication to farming blocks of saplings to trees could affect so many people. For 40+ years hundreds of children visited on school trips and tasted the best Yellow Delicious and Johnathan apples kissed by the Midwest sun. “City folk,” as my grandmother referred to them, came annually from as far as Chicago to spend a day U-picking. Family, friends and a community helped my grandparents build their empire of Red Havens, the peach tree no one at the time thought could grow in Michigan’s sandy soil, but which my grandparents proved wrong. Dedication, getting your hands dirty, these were never glorified but daily tasks, day to day commitments.
This time in January the email reminders and seed catalogs come rolling in for me to see what the future could hold for my simple backyard garden. My garden represents a small part of my past that I keep alive, knowing what I grow has more meaning than merely putting food on the table, and that commitment to improve whatever it may be is what motivates and grounds me in all areas of my life. It’s following through a season, knowing I will perhaps experience the same trials and tribulations as my grandparents did. It’s discovering that no matter where your feet are planted you are always growing.
Define a good deed
and I will give you an apple seed.
One that will grow and
bear fruits to nourish you.
Planting the seed for future blogs to come. Our relationship with our food, past, present and the future in sustainable food culture. Subscribe to this blog and learn along with me!1