My favourite form of eating locally, is straight out of the garden in your own backyard. When I was young, we had a small garden in the backyard, for green onions and tomatoes, beans and potatoes. Both of my grandfathers had large vegetable gardens. Even though one lived right in the center of the city of Sherbrooke, he grew corn and squash and tomatoes and peppers, and lots of zucchini. As a child, I loved sun-warmed tomatoes (and couldn’t stand fried green tomatoes!), eaten out of hand like an apple, while still standing next to the plant that raised it. Raw green beans…and even better, after sitting on the stoop, topping and tailing those beans, getting to eat a whole plate full, dripping in butter. Or, the ultimate childhood harvest…Sitting just off the path through the field near our house, in grass that tickled the backs of my knees, hunting for wild strawberries. The kind you just pick and eat, no need to carry them home. Occasionally, a few might make it back to the kitchen counter, a little worse for wear, a few strawberry stains on my hands.
|Eating some of Grandpa’s green beans
|Farm on Grand Marais in Chateauguay Valley
We didn’t live in the country (although I would have loved that!), just a small suburb off the Island of Montreal, in what is now known as the Monteregie region of Quebec, and home to mostly rural communities. So there were many trips to the countryside, the Chateauguay Valley, the unofficial Corn capital of Quebec. Now, I believe one of the main crops is Soy, and celery. Yes, if you live in Canada (east of the Rockies) and you eat celery grown in Canada, it was likely grown in the Chateauguay Valley.
Where we live now, there is ample space for a lovely vegetable garden, raspberry patch, blueberry bush or whatever. Heck, we even have one of the best climates for growing stuff here on Vancouver Island. I have some friends who have great backyard gardens with way smaller spaces than we do. And many of them are ready to share their bounty with friends and neighbours. Recently, one such friend provided us with an abundance of raspberry canes, complete with raspberries getting ready to ripen.
Yes, they were in our yard not more than 24 hours,
and they looked like this:
…Because of these guys (and yes, they are guys, although the gals are equally responsible for the eating of some items, just didn’t catch them in the act this time)
This year, there are 8 males travelling together, and they range in age from 2 up to about 6 or 7, and they eat EVERYTHING! Well, almost, they seem to ignore the dandelions and a few other nasty little weeds.
So, I am starting to think that rather than accepting free deer food so lovingly cultivated, from friends, I should be trading venison for vegetables…