Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eat your Veggies!

My young assistant, Rebecca, and I have been having a big time putting up our bounty this year. We watch the squirrels in our neighborhood stocking up for the winter and feel like squirrels ourselves as we can and dry and freeze everything that we can't eat in the next few days.
Rebecca's been a great help in the kitchen. Her big responsibility, besides tasting, is washing the canning jars. Her little hands fit right into the jars. She scrubs them till they squeak and has developed her own system of soaking, scrubbing and rinsing. She checks for chips in the rims and has learned all about the importance of using sterile equipment. Enlisting our kids to help in these tasks is a great way to reinforce the "we're all in this together" and "we need to work as a team" lessons.
Rebecca feels such a great sense of satisfaction when we break into the canned foodstuff. Just this morning she had a bowl of our spiced applesauce with breakfast. And was ready to lick out the bowl she liked it so much! I sent her off to school filled with yummy healthy food and bursting with pride that she had helped make that applesauce. She taste tested throughout the process, decided what spices to add, stirred the pot and washed all of the jars.
Early this month, my friend Amanda and her 3 year old Emma took care of my garden for a week while my family took a trip to Alaska. We were chatting the other day and she told me that Emma had never been very interested in eating vegetables but while helping to pick cherry tomatoes, she discovered that she loved tomatoes. Sometimes the best way to get kids to eat something, is to involve them in the growing, picking and processing of our food.
So many children today (and adults) are so disconnected from the source of our food. For most people, food simply comes from the supermarket, so therein begins the disconnect in our society. But when we start asking about where our food comes from and how it is processed, when we start taking part in the process... that sense of pride that Rebecca carries with her is available to each and every one of us!


Anonymous said...

Hi, looks like your summer has been busy! Wow, I cant even imagine that many tomatoes. I hope to get there some day! I thought you might have some tips about tomatoes. When the rains came after our long drought all my tomatoes that were almost ripe split, anything to do to prevent that? As for a garden tour I would love to see yours but I am afraid mine would be sad and short, it is my first season and it has been a big learning curve! Lots of things did not do so well. Happy fall planting!
city pfarm girl (kim)

Beth Molaro said...

Thanks Kim,
Tomato advise... Definitely pick off all the split and rotting tomatoes...
If you leave them on the plant says "ah my work is done.. seed is set" and the plant begins to die..
If you remove all of the bad tomatoes you stand a chance of stopping that attitude.
I have been picking tomatoes just before they are fully ripe and having some good luck with that..
Let's get together..

Mike Valentino said...

Hey, just stumbled upon your blog. I love what you're doing. Keep up the great work.

Katie said...

Hi cool to read all about your hard work!
I am unsure if this is the place to be asking questions that do not quite pertain to organic gardening (although I think it is urgent that we all start), but here goes...
I came across your blog on "Craig's List" while looking at different properties within the Asheville area. I visited Asheville in 2007 and fell in love...stayed at a B&B and a few nights at the Best Western (I think that is where I stayed). Well, anyway, saw some good music, ate GREAT food, and met good people. I too am a single Mama with a 7-year-old and I am looking to move into the area from Michigan. I guess I am wondering if you had any advice about the area as far as job opportunity, schools, living, etc. I actually have a BA in Food Marketing, a program which proved to only perpetuate our disconnection from food sources....the earth....Big corporations seemed to be the only to come to my University to recruit..argh. I don't know. This may be a long's scary to move, and I thought you may have some insight as you live there!
Thanks for any time you can spare to write...

Katie Noonan
Kalamazoo, MI