Food done right

Tomato plants in the garden.
Home grown tomatoes

There is a growing awareness in the US today of the value of eating locally grown organic and sustainable foods. This isn’t a new concept, but there are more and more restaurants creating menus from locally sourced produce, dairy, and meats. The menus reflect what is in season at the moment…what is available at the time of year. The reality is that this is simply a return to a much older way of eating…long before pesticides, mass production, and vast distribution systems became the norm in the food industry.

Small and privately owned farms are leading this movement. There is a renewed appreciation for the art, the craft, the science, of food production done well, from the farm to the table. Farmers inspire chefs, and chefs support farmers. It’s a healthy and nutritious approach to life.

One of the goals I have in choosing “next” is to have access to farmers’ markets and to a wider array of food choices. At the local markets in Ketchikan, there is a good selection of ethnic and imported foods. But it would be oh so fun to have even more options. I remember my mom going to Indian food stores to buy authentic curry spice mixtures and other items that were not available at the local grocery. Things have come a long way. But I’m intrigued by the challenge of eating locally, and I want to explore the choices that come with living in a region of the country that has a rich agricultural tradition and more ethnic diversity of restaurants and resources.

Long ago, when Rob and I were first married, we planted a few tomato plants outside our apartment building. My grandmother, one of the greenest thumbs of all time, recommended a healthy spread of chicken manure as fertilizer for the plants. Those tomato vines produced an amazing harvest, and I must say, the only tomato harvest I’ve ever personally produced.

I don’t want to become a farmer. I don’t think my thumb is green enough. But I would love to have access to farmers’ bounty, and to have the opportunity to try my hand at growing tomatoes again. I don’t know if or when that ambition may become a reality. It is one of the things I’m thinking about as I sit dreaming, looking out at the Tongass Narrows. Living “as if, ” thinking, “not at once, but at last.”As  I said to a friend a few days ago, if all my dreams come true, I could spend the rest of my life living in an RV. I highly doubt that will be the case! But I think some adventuring is in order before I think about planting tomatoes or new roots. I’m good with that. I don’t need either of those things at the moment. But some day, maybe I’ll be a proud tomato grower again. And I’ll have a favorite farm stand to visit.

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