Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Garden

I remember a campaign as a kid that was put out by the FDA and the nutritional requirements we were suppose to be getting. The marketing line was You Are What You Eat. As a smart-ass kid, this line was utterly meaningless to me. I was an apple, a burger, carrots? What the hell?

I used to eat everything. As a youth, I could not put on weight and I was always hungry. I graduated from high school weighing 135 lbs carried on a 6' 2" frame. I was skinny. I am still tall and lean, but carry a modest 195 lbs on this lean frame today. My eating habits were not the greatest as a youth, but I supplemented all the soda pops, ice cream and junk foods with nutritious food as well. I also ate my share of fast food.

I didn't begin growing my garden as a health kick. I just wanted to tend a little plot of earth. I started going to Farmer's markets and I took an interest in agriculture and our agricultural and food system in the US. Slowly, I started to realize that I was made up of what I put into my body and I became much more conscious of what I ate. I now grow a lot of vegetables, berries and flowers in a garden that is about 120 ft x 80 ft. I don't use chemicals and I have great success and yields from meticulous composting, weeding, soil-building and mulching. I have raised beds that I place plants close together and grow all my vining plants upwards (tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and squash). I grow clover in the paths between the beds and come July and August, my garden becomes transformed into an oasis where I go to sit amongst plants, flowers and greenery with a cold beer and the radio tuned to a Minnesota Twins baseball game or Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion.

Now, I only eat food that I have some idea of where it comes from and how it has been raised or grown. I feel healthy and strong. My plan is to work at my job for as long as it takes to take my hobby of gardening and transforming it into a business as a small farm or Community Supported Agriculture. I am in the process of looking for land to start my organic farm and business around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I want to raise chickens, beef cattle, dairy cattle, hogs, goats, and sheep and grow every variety of vegetables you can imagine. That is my goal. I want to be a farmer. But, for now, I am happy in my garden. Soon, I will post some pictures of my garden paradise and the fruits of my labors.

2 comments:

Richard said...

Hi Andrew,

Do you know much about peaches? I bought 4 peaches at Path Mark a few days ago and yesterday, like overnight, two of them are 1/3 rotten with hor frost on the skin of the rotten part. I cut away the rot and hor and ate the rest and the "good" part wasn't even ripe yet! I can't stand crunchy peaches, but its better than eating rot. Aargh! I feel like writing a letter of complaint to the store's produce manager for foysting off his defective fruit on me. How can you tell? They looked fine in the store! Has this ever happened to you and would you have any advice on this matter?

Richard

Andy B said...

Richard,

I have bought rotten peaches before. Peaches don't grow well up here in Minnesota, so I don't have the option of knowing a grower and getting my peaches directly from them. I suggest you dump all rotten peaches in your compost and send a complaint to the store manager at WallMart. I am not sure if you bought your Peaches at WallMart, but send it to them anyway. They have a lot of nice people there that have a lot of experience handling complaints.

I love a juicy ripe peach, but it is only a small difference between juicy ripe and rot. If you buy peaches by the crate you have only a few hours to eat the peaches while they are juicy and ripe before they turn to rot.

I suggest you take a crate of crunchy not yet ripened peaches and keep set aside one or two until they are ripe. Then slice up the rest of them and put in a large bowl and pour some sugar over them. Take a small bowl fill up and pour some cream from some grass fed cows that are in your local areas. Then feast on that. can the rest of the sliced up peaches and wait for the two you set aside to get juicy and ripe.

mmmmmmm, Peaches.