Last updated on October 9, 2010 by Liza Hawkins
This is the second in a series of monthly guest blog posts by Josie & Shawn from Truffula Seed Produce. Enjoy! -Liza
Thanks to plentiful produce departments and bountiful farmers’ markets, fresh fruits and vegetables are often readily available and easy to afford. Without much effort, we can acquire the ingredients for just about any meal. Much of the food that we eat these days is so easy to come by – it just sits there at the market, waiting for us to buy it – that we rarely need to give much thought to how it came to be.
I don’t mean whether it was shipped from across the world or across the county, (although that’s certainly a good thing to be aware of). What I mean is that it is easy to forget, for example, that the apple we are chopping is the culmination of four seasons of rain, sun, snow and wind. And that the tree from which it came took years of growing before it bore its first fruit. And that before it was any of this, it was a single black seed in the palm of someone’s hand.
I definitely didn’t use to appreciate just how much time and work goes into turning seeds into food. It fact, it wasn’t until Josie and I started farming, that I began to understand the effort that goes into growing a single piece of produce. Take the tomato. On our farm, this year’s tomatoes started their lives as midwinter reveries in the heads of these two young farmers, with a long winter, (stretched out even further by lingering snowfall), whirling around outside.
From these ideas, (and with the snow still piled high), handfuls of saved seeds became single green buds under the tender glow of indoor fluorescent lights, trays of buds turned to sprouts whose ultimate form slowly became recognizable.
Green leaves gradually gave way to stalks and whole plants, which were then potted and repotted.
Longer days and warmer soil nourished new transplants lined up in long straight garden rows. Wooden trellises and lengths of string guided frenetic branches skyward.
Busy hands pulled weeds and poured water, as each plant grew taller and stronger. With the snow long gone, flowers appeared and bloomed into beacons of color, attracting pollinators of all stripes who buzzed about them in search of sweet nectar.
Flowers became buds burgeoning with promise, buds took shape and grew rounder and heavier, and then one day there she was: a single ripe tomato.
From start to finish, it takes almost six months of planting and nurturing to grow that perfect big red juicy tomato – and after all of those countless hours of work, it only takes a few minutes to eat it!
That is how it should be; food should be eaten and enjoyed, not adulated or worshipped. But as we take pleasure in that perfect tomato or that delicious apple, let’s keep in mind what went into bring it from a seed to our plates, and not forget that almost everything that we eat started out on a farm. Without farms, (and the clean water, healthy soil, and fresh air that they need to function), we would be without food.
Photos courtesy of Truffula Seed Produce