By Anna Thomas Bates | Photo By Anna Thomas Bates 0
We are lucky to be in southern Wisconsin, an area that is bursting with farmers markets and honest small farms offering shares directly to consumers. Supporting local farmers helps sustain our local economy and is a strong vote against corporate farms utilizing chemicals, and a strong vote for a regional foodshed.
But take a moment to consider growing a portion of your produce yourself. Not only is it budget-friendly, but it is endlessly exciting. Gardening offers more drama and suspense than a summer blockbuster.
Looking for romance? The pleasure of plucking ripe, red strawberries from lush green foliage and eating them out of hand until your fingertips and lips are stained pink makes for a hedonistic afternoon.
Need a thrill? Late May brings the constant uncertainty of a late frost. Will it? Won’t it? Watch the forecast, watch the skies, and try to figure out if it is worth gathering up old sheets and running outside at 10 pm to cover your tender new transplants.
The yearning for a good, soaking rain; the horror of gripping a hornworm the size of your thumb and yanking it from your prized crops; and the complete happiness watching your 18-month-old pick a tomato the size of your fist and sink his four teeth right in.
My heart starts pumping when I find the inaugural purple spear of asparagus poking up through the crumbly earth or early summer’s first tiny green tomato. The act of growing, harvesting, preparing, and then eating food that I have raised is unparalleled, and I feel it each and every growing season.
The contentment I feel as I lug a heavy basket of fruit and vegetables back to the house is worth the mosquito bites and back-aches. As I load the freezer with bags of diced heirloom tomatoes and the shelves with blueberry jam, I’m proud to be providing nourishment for my family that I nurtured from seed to their stomachs.
The list of impelling reasons why you should grow your own food is long, and I’m confident one will tug on your soul and encourage you to leaf through a seed catalog or consider raised bed designs.